New EEP Africa Portfolio Integrates Clean Energy in Rural Value Chains
16 September 2021 – EEP Africa has launched a new cohort of 26 projects promoting productive use of energy and circular economy.
The new portfolio stems from a 2020 competitive call for proposals on Clean Energy Powering Green Growth. From among 357 applications submitted, 26 companies were awarded a total of EUR 8.3 million in financing for projects to be implemented in 12 countries across Southern and East Africa. The new grantees are mainly start-up companies (81%), with a significant share of locally-led (62%) and women-led (38%) enterprises.
“We see many clean energy start-ups developing sustainable solutions to stimulate green growth in rural communities. However, it is a well-known fact that there is a severe lack of flexible and early-stage financing for such innovators, especially for local and women-led companies. EEP Africa is proud to be one of the leading funders willing to take risks and catalyse investment in new technologies and business models.” – Jussi Viding, EEP Africa Fund Manager
The new portfolio demonstrates the growing trend of integrating energy services along the entire agricultural value chain. It includes projects that are bringing solutions to market in solar irrigation and cooling, agro-processing, waste-to-energy and e-mobility. Grant funding is needed to test and demonstrate new products and business models in these areas. It also allows companies to expand asset financing and financial inclusion, which increases uptake of productive use assets in last-mile communities.
The new projects aim to enhance access to energy for both household and productive use purposes. Collectively, they expect to create 2,600 new jobs (43% for women) and result in EUR 7.7 million in annual savings on energy-related expenditures. The call primarily attracted applications for stand-alone appliances and services, rather than large-scale power plants, but even so the new projects are projected to generate 25,000 MWh of clean energy per year and reduce or avoid 105,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions annually.
“Clean energy has a critical role to play in fostering sustainable rural economic development. Market entry for new products and technologies can be very challenging. EEP Africa serves as a catalyst to enable promising small and medium enterprises at the early stages of the financial growth cycle to test and refine their business models in view of becoming bankable.” – Henrik Franklin, Director of Portfolio Origination & Management, Nordic Development Fund
The new grantees join those funded under earlier calls, resulting in a combined portfolio of 67 companies working in 14 countries. The portfolio collectively reflects the incredible diversity of technologies, products and business models being utilised to advance a just clean energy transition in Africa.