Clean and affordable off-grid energy
Over 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live today without access to electricity. For most of these people, connection to the grid is not likely to happen for decades, or longer. The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) aims to reduce this gap by stimulating and accelerating the emergency of new business models to incentivise the private sector to offer affordable and clean energy access at scale to people living in rural and peri-urban areas. The programme builds on the positive experiences of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia (BGFZ), which Sweden commenced in 2016 and which is successfully implemented by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP).
Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa forms part of the ‘Power Africa’ initiative launched by former President Barack Obama and contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal 7 as well as the Paris Agreement on Climate. The planned period of implementation is in total six years. The programme aims to benefit 5 to 15 million rural and peri-urban people in the participating countries.
Current funding programmes
The second Call for Proposals for Mozambique (BGFA2) has been launched on 8 February 2021 and is currently inviting interested off-grid energy companies to compete for funding with the aim of engaging them to develop new sustainable businesses and thereby accelerate access to affordable and clean off-grid energy at scale for customers in peri-urban and rural areas of Mozambique. Pre-Qualification applications should be submitted online at the latest by 29 March 2021 at 16:00 hrs Helsinki Time (UTC +3 hrs) through the online application tool available for registration at beyondthegrid.africa/register/.
Questions relating to the Pre-Qualification phase can be submitted through the online application tool until 1 March 2021 at 16:00 hrs Helsinki Time (UTC +3 hrs). Questions and answers will be made available to all Applicants in a redacted form on 10 March 2021. Read more in the Invitation Letter and Pre-Qualification guidelines.
The expectation is that up to 42,000 off-grid energy service systems (ESSs) will be established during the project implementation period, thus benefiting more than 210,000 people in peri- urban and rural areas. The indicative individual contract ticket size is expected to be EUR 1.5 – 2 million. The energy services are to be implemented during a four-year period with total funding of EUR 6.7 million provided by the Swedish government.
Burkina Faso, Liberia and Zambia (BGFA1)
The first Call for Proposal (BGFA1) is ongoing for Burkina Faso, Liberia and Zambia and applicants that successfully passed the Pre-Qulaification stage has been invited to take part in the Final Application stage in early December 2020.
BGFA1 aims to incentivise off-grid energy companies to accelerate the establishment of new, long-term sustainable energy service subscriptions at scale. In total, some EUR 30 million is offered to qualified, private off-grid energy service providers under three different Country Programmes, with funding opportunities split into a number of Funding Windows and Funding Lots. The contract size is expected to be EUR 1 – 4 million, depending on the target country and individual needs.
The plan is to have some 15 contracts signed by May 2021, with project implementation starting in August 2021. Awarded funds will be disbursed during a four-year period. By 2025, it is expected that up to 700,000 off-grid long-term sustainable energy service subscriptions will have been entered into with customers, bringing clean and affordable energy to more than 3.5 million people in peri-urban and rural areas.
Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa is funded by Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Swedish Embassies in the target countries, Denmark, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and PowerAfrica, an initiative administered by USAID. NEFCO is managing the facility and the programme is implemented in cooperation with REEEP.
Sweden is contributing over EUR 60 million for the first expansion into Burkina Faso and Liberia and the second phase in Zambia, to the separate expansions into Mozambique and Uganda as well as to the separate clean cooking programme. Denmark is supporting the expansion into Uganda with an EUR 5 million contribution (DKK 37.5 million). Power Africa is providing an in-kind technical assistance contribution worth approx. EUR 4 million (USD 4.5 million) over three years. Germany, through its development bank KfW, will join the Country Programme for Zambia (pending final approval), with the focus on mini-grids.
Several other donors have also shown interest in joining the programme. If your institution or organisation is interested in contributing as a donor or supporter to the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa, please contact us.