The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) has launched an $8.5 million grant facility to support renewable energy startups in Somalia and Somaliland.
The fund is a component of the REACT Sub Saharan programme, that seeks to reduce poverty through a transformational increase in the use of renewable energy by off-grid households.
‘The Somali market presents a unique opportunity for us and other development partners to change the narrative on reliance of diesel-powered mini-grids as we facilitate a switch to renewable energy sources. To achieve this stimulation of market growth and engagement of private sector in renewable energy value chains is pivotal, said Victoria Sabula, Chief Executive Officer of AECF.
According to the World Bank SDG tracking report, it is estimated that 11 Million Somalis lack access to electricity services with only 3% having access to clean cooking, this lack of electricity and use of poor-quality cooking fuels continues to hamper development for low-income households of the people of Somalia.
‘For this call, we are looking to work with businesses at different developmental stages particularly those at early stage. In addition to the funding, we will provide technical support, business linkages and investment facilitation, said the AECF CEO.
The programme targets private sector companies and microfinance institutions that are commercially active. These businesses are expected to be delivering low cost, clean energy products and services that benefit the poor in rural and peri-urban Somalia as well as Internally Displaced Persons, especially women and youth. This programme aims to enable 300,000 people access clean energy and create jobs for both youth and women.
The deadline for the applications is 22nd January 2021.