EEP Africa Tanzania Jaza energy hub
EEP Africa is supporting Canadian last mile energy company Jaza Energy, which is developing a network of solar energy hubs across Tanzania that offer rental battery packs for lighting and other energy needs. Image: EEP Africa.

While global economies slowed down and foreign direct investment in Africa decreased during 2020, EEP Africa expanded their active portfolio.

The early stage investor awarded €8.3 million to 26 companies through an EEP Innovation window call for proposals that focused on productive use of energy and circular economy.

Another €1.5 million was awarded in a first loan signed under the new EEP Catalyst debt financing window. At the same time EEP Africa supported its existing grantees with flexible disbursements and technical support to revise their business plan and adjust to market upheavals caused by COVID-19.

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Leena Klossner, Nordic Development Fund deputy managing director, said: “2020 was a challenging year for all of us and early stage clean energy companies are no exception. Such times call for added flexibility and creativity from financiers and entrepreneurs. NDF has been impressed by the exceptional results and progress demonstrated by EEP Africa and its portfolio companies in 2020.”

EEP Africa also strengthened its investment and knowledge partnerships during 2020. AS an early-stage investor enabling companies to achieve proof of concept, EEP Africa spends a lot of time interacting with grantees, helping them improve their investment readiness. They also work hard on facilitating linkages with the investor community. During 2020, investment in private sector development was catalysed through a virtual Clean Investment Forum and other tailored matchmaking services.

Jussi Viding, EEP Africa fund manager for the Nordic Development Fund, stated: “Partnerships in the sector create a more robust pipeline for follow-on investors. Especially in a year like this it is critical to build new connections between investors and companies in order to maintain progress towards more divers and sustainable clean energy sector.”

EEP Africa analysis of clean energy sector

The Fund also analysed lessons learned within its portfolio to provide insight to a broader sector through knowledge sharing and publications. They published a flagship publication in 2020 on Energising Resilience, a study on climate adaptation and resilience co-benefits achieved by clean energy projects.

This report, along with the new projects in the EEP Africa portfolio working at the nexus of energy, agricultural productivity and climate, will add to the global dialogue in the build-up towards COP26 in Glasgow later this year.  

Jan Wahlberg Ambassador for climate change in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, said: “Climate change mitigation and adaptation are high priorities in the Finnish foreign policy. It is clear that EEP Africa will remain very relevant for us in coming years. We also seek to welcome other donors on board to help meet the substantial demands for early-stage financing and business support.”  

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Impact of early stage funder constantly evolving

An impact evaluation of the Fund conducted during 2020 confirmed one of their core values is a willingness to take risks on early-stage businesses and unproven models. It also highlighted the need for the Fund to keep adapting to maintain its relevance in the sector.

Signs of flexibility and adaptation as the Fund heads into its second decade are the Fund’s new EEP Catalyst financing window, its increased focus on supporting local and women-led companies and is recognition of next generation talent through the creation of a new Rising Energy Leaders award.

You can find the EEP Africa Trust Fund Annual Report 2020 online. EEP Africa is an early-stage clean energy financing facility hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), with funding from Austria, Finland and NDF. Since 2010, EEP Africa has invested over EUR 50 million in 274 projects across 15 countries in Southern and East Africa.

Click on the link below to watch an interview with the EEP Africa Company of the Year 2020 – Gigawatt Global talking about the first solar IPP in Burundi.