The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) has launched a new household solar competition under its Renewable Energy and Climate Adaptation Technologies (REACT) window. The competition aims to drive innovation in companies that have the potential to build affordable off-grid stand-alone solar household systems (SHS) in the target countries of Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone.
Speaking at the launch in Nairobi on Wednesday, May 10, Lord Paul Boateng, Chair of AECF Ltd. said, “Access to electricity is critical for the growth of small and micro business in Africa. With the REACT household solar funding window, AECF Limited intends to spark the growth of rural economies that can potentially address youth unemployment and increase income for women running small business across Africa.”
The total REACT Household Solar window funding is £8 million, with available funding to businesses ranging from US$250,000) (£193,000) to US$1.5 million (£1.16 million).
The new window will build on REACT’s existing work, which has so far held four rounds and invested in 71 East African businesses that have provided over 500,000 rural households with access to electricity. These businesses have created 3,000 jobs and leveraged US$150 million in follow-on funding. Dr. Paul Greener, Chief Executive Officer of AECF Ltd., said, “We will build on the success of the REACT funding windows in East Africa to tackle one of the most pressing barriers to growth for the SHS sector in these countries which is access to finance.”
The fund will support innovative and transformational business models that help people to access electricity through off-grid solar household systems and give commercially viable businesses the developmental support to create sustainable SHS markets. It also aims to ensure access to electricity is affordable to the rural and peri-urban poor and to capture and disseminate ecosystem lessons on how solar household systems delivers positive social and economic impact for those same people.
The new REACT window is supported by the United Kingdom government and runs from the 10th May to 25th June 2017. The winning companies shall be announced in September 2017.
Further information about eligibility and the application process visit the AECF Limited website: www.aecfafrica.org/competitions/react-window
AECF is an Africa-based USD$256 million Enterprise Challenge Fund that works with the private sector on a risk sharing basis across 24 African countries to reduce poverty. It provides catalytic funding as grants or zero interest loans to private sector businesses that have a positive impact on rural poor in Sub-Saharan Africa. The fund awards grant and/or loans to projects focused on agriculture, agribusiness, renewable energy and adaptation to climate change with the aim of improving household incomes and reducing rural poverty. The fund is supported by Australia, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom governments international financial institutions, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor and IFAD.
About Coffey International Development Europe
Coffey International Development Europe is serving as Competition Manager for the REACT Household Solar fund. It is part of Tetra Tech, a leading international development firm with more than 16,000 personnel worldwide. With active projects in all REACT HS target countries, Coffey has an accomplished history of providing financial and technical assistance to enterprises across Africa on behalf of DFID, the World Bank, and other donors. The wider Tetra Tech firm has worked in Africa’s energy sector for nearly 20 years and currently employs more than 1,000 staff in 14 offices across the continent. Since 2014, we have been the supplier for USAID-funded Power Africa Transactions and Reform Programme (PATRP), providing energy policy and regulatory technical assistance and power transaction support to governments and enterprises in 15 countries, including three of the four REACT HS focus countries.
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