Cotonou, 4 September 2023 – ARE Member the Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI), managed by EDFI Management Company, has announced an investment of EUR 3.1 million in Les Soleils du Bénin under the Benin Country Window funded by the European Union and established in close collaboration with the EU Delegation in Cotonou and the Beninese government. With the signature of a EUR 3.1 million Senior Debt Agreement with Les Soleils du Bénin, ElectriFI fortifies the project’s financing structure and complements the equity financing from NEoT Offgrid Africa. This strategic investment adds substantial momentum to Les Soleils du Bénin, propelling it towards its mission of delivering clean energy to thousands of homes and businesses in the country.

Les Soleils du Bénin, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) jointly developed by GDS International and Africa Renewable Energy System & Solution (“ARESS”), in partnership with NEoT Offgrid Africa, aims to construct and operate a portfolio of 12 mini-grids in Benin. This initiative seeks to deploy 1.7 MWp of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, backed by 3 MWh of battery storage, thereby empowering over 3 000 households and businesses with reliable electricity supply. The total project cost of approximately EUR 9 million is supported in part by subsidies from the MCA-Benin II Offgrid Clean Energy Facility.

The EU Ambassador to Benin, HE Sylvia Hartleif, shared her support: “The EU is proud to put forward innovative instruments to strengthen public-private partnerships in response to global challenges, such as accelerating electrification and powering clean energy solutions to address climate change. Our partnership with Les Soleils du Bénin is a direct local translation of the EU’s Global Gateway investment strategy which will contribute to sustainable economic growth and improved living conditions for the Beninese people."

Léonide Sinsin, Les Soleils du Bénin’s General Director, also shared his thoughts on the investment, saying, “This investment from ElectriFI is a significant milestone for Les Soleils du Bénin. It underscores the importance of partnerships and demonstrates the shared commitment to providing clean energy access to the people of Benin. We are thrilled to work alongside ElectriFI, Générale du Solaire International, ARESS, NEoT Offgrid Africa, and the EU to realize our vision of a sustainable and electrified future for our communities.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the investment, Rodrigo Madrazo, CEO of EDFI MC, stated “We are delighted to extend our support to Les Soleils du Bénin, whose transformative project aligns perfectly with ElectriFI’s mission to foster sustainable energy solutions in developing countries. By investing in this innovative initiative, we are reaffirming our commitment to electrifying underserved communities and catalysing a positive socio-economic impact.

The partnership between GDS International and ARESS, both established players in the renewable energy sector, ensures a robust business plan, while NEoT Offgrid Africa’s involvement as a financing partner bolsters the project’s equity financing. This collaboration sets the stage for a powerful alliance, striving to create a lasting impact on the energy landscape of Benin.

The project stands as a testament to the potential unleashed by collective efforts, technological innovation, and sustainable finance. Through this partnership, ElectriFI, GDS International, ARESS, NEoT Offgrid Africa, and the EU are pioneering a brighter, more sustainable future for the people of Benin.