With efforts to support geographic expansion throughout Africa, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has announced that it will award a $4 million loan to multiple innovative, off-grid solar businesses working in sub-Saharan Africa.
This forms part of the USAID’s Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development, a global partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development, Power Africa, the U.K. Department for International Development, and the Shell Foundation.
The agency told ESI Africa that funds will be earmarked for early-growth stage companies that can show a 2:1 private investor match – i.e. USAID will award $500,000 to companies showing a $1 million private investment match.
One long-standing barrier many early stage, off-grid entrepreneurs face is access to capital. USAID designed this funding opportunity specifically to address that problem.
It aims to empower entrepreneurs and investors in achieving 20 million connections to provide households in sub-Saharan Africa with clean, modern and affordable access to electricity by 2030.
Renewable energy sources are ripe for investors: over the last few years, they have become more affordable, efficient and viable for industry to rollout.
According to the agency, sales nearly doubled in 2015, but there is still only about a 3% market penetration of an estimated $6 billion market.
The Agency has noted the following requirements on their website:
The agency said that concept papers will be accepted on a rolling basis between February 2017 and April 30, 2017.