USAID Call for Partnerships: Scaling Investment in Off-Grid Energy Solutions in Africa

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Global Development Lab and Power Africa are making a special call for concept papers on the “Global Development Alliance (GDA) Annual Program Statement (APS)” focused on increasing private investment in off-grid energy in Africa as part of the Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development.

The Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development (SOGE) seeks to accelerate growth in the off-grid energy market to provide 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa with access to modern, clean, and affordable electricity. However, access to capital and cost of capital remains a key market barrier, severely limiting enterprise growth and the household solar sector’s capacity to scale and mature as an industry.

Objectives and Funding Information

  • Use public funding to leverage private financing in the household solar market through investor engagement and partnerships.
  • Support innovative technology solutions and business models across the household solar value chain that provide, or support the provision of, affordable energy access to low-income households and small businesses across sub-Saharan Africa.

USAID may allocate up to $4,000,000 under the Addendum to fund a portfolio of partnerships, with funding for individual partnerships estimated in the range of $500,000 to $1,500,000.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants should offer demonstrated experience developing and scaling innovative solutions across the household solar value chain to more efficiently deliver modern energy services to low-income households and businesses across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Applicants must demonstrate private investor financial commitment at a minimum 2:1 ratio of the funding requested from USAID. That is, the level of private investment must be at least twice as much as the level of funding requested from USAID.
  • Potential applicants could include, but are not limited to, solar home system manufacturers, distributors, service providers, technical integration providers, or financial intermediaries serving the household solar market.
  • USAID is interested in applicants that address constrained access to capital, the high cost of capital in local currency, and the high cost of doing business in the household solar market. This includes solutions that decrease costs and increase the efficiency with which solar companies can access both equity and debt financing, preferably in local currency. For example, this could include a novel technology or business model that increases access to finance through investment structures or financing products. This could also include a model that greatly enables household solar service providers to serve larger customer bases and/or multiple companies at lower cost.
  • USAID is open to receiving Concept Papers from new and innovative household solar manufacturers, distributors, and service providers, USAID will not consider solutions involving pico-solar products smaller than basic home solar systems (lanterns, etc.) under this Addendum.
  • Concept Papers and full applications must be for companies operating in one or more sub-Saharan countries. Currently, USAID has active SOGE investments in Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya but Concept Papers submitted under this Addendum is open to markets across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Applicants should be early to early-growth stage, with an existing positive track record in one or more African markets related to household solar deployment. Applicants must have a proven business model with a record of success, yet be at a growth stage in which a lack of access to capital is prohibiting the enterprise’s capacity to scale or launch in a new

Eligible Countries: Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, the Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

How to Apply

Interested applicants must send their concept papers at the address given on the website.

Deadline: April 30, 2017

For more information on this opportunity, please visit USAID Call for Partnerships. To view previous awardees click here.

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Ufuoma is a Senior Editor and Director of Regulatory Policy at NLIPW. She assists clients in the protection of copyrights, trademarks and patents. She counsels clients regarding validity and infringement matters and has experience acting against the infringement of IP and addressing counterfeit issues. She holds a Masters degree (LL.M.) from Columbia Law School, New York and a law degree from the University of Nigeria (LL.B. Honors). She is admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in the State of New York. Ufuoma cut her teeth in the intellectual property practice groups of some of the largest law firms in Nigeria and has years of experience working with major non-profit organizations in New York. Email: uakpotaire@nlipw.com

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