The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) has announced that it will make available additional funding for solar energy projects in Zimbabwe.The AECF fund consultant, Oliver Bowler, told The Herald Business that funding will be made available to existing Zimbabwean solar energy projects aimed at solar businesses so that they can scale-up to profitable levels.
The media reported that the organisation has already made a $10 million commitment towards solar energy projects in four African countries including Zimbabwe this year.
"The funding will be used to scale businesses so that they can reach more customers and improve people's lives in rural areas,” Bowler said.
He added: "Because we will do this in several investments to many companies we will therefore create a wider market which is investment-ready.
"This will make investors feel safe and comfortable in committing their fund for a financial and social return in the solar household system market."
Different solar energy projects
Bowler said the fund will provide grants from $250,000 to $1,5 million for the development of different solar projects.
"These will be invested into businesses so that they can grow and develop their business models to be more profitable and make a greater impact for socio-economic and gender factors," Bowler said.
AECF portfolio manager Victor Ndiege highlighted that the Fund is targeting both start-up and established companies, adding the funding tenure is up to five years.
Ndiege said: "In 2010 we introduced a renewable energy portfolio and specifically for this session we have come to promote renewable energy projects which are focusing on four countries across Africa namely Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Sierra Leone.
"Currently we have 10 grantees in Mozambique who are benefiting from our funding and they have received investment of $13 million in the last four years. We have come back now with another $10 million to be competed through and hoping to bring on board another 10 or 12 companies across the four countries.”
Zimbabwean solar energy projects
In Zimbabwe the organisation has also financed Better Agriculture, a company that has been promoting chilli production with rural farmers and is now expanding into regional and international markets, media reported.
This development aligns with energy minister’s view, Samuel Undenge, who recently said the country has the capacity to produce 1,600MW of electricity from renewable energy resources by 2030. Read more...
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