Africa: new initiative aims to nip continent’s troubles with DRE market growth

A new initiative that comprises supports from the Shell Foundation; UK Department for International Development (DFID); Power Africa; US Agency for International Development (USAID); as well as the African Development Bank (AfDB), is looking to help African countries scale their markets for off grid energy solutions.

Accordingly, the Shell Foundation has partnered with Power Africa; USAID; DFID; and AfDB, to create a platform that allows leading donors and investors to coordinate investments into energy access initiatives that target off grid households and businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Tagged ‘Scaling Off-Grid Energy, A Grand Challenge for Development,’ it aims to overcome supply; demand; and market constraints in the off grid energy sector to deliver clean; modern; and affordable electricity to 20 million households in Africa.

Together, the partners will align opportunities for patient investment and partnerships with key African stakeholders to unlock the private capital required to scale DRE, thus significantly amplifying their collective impact.

At a country level, the partners will also strengthen the off grid energy ecosystem and policy environment to advance the goals and commitments made under Power Africa; Energy Africa and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The partners will focus on three areas for scaling off grid solutions: access to finance to expand supply; technology innovation to build demand; and institutional support to strengthen the marketplace.

“This approach builds on SF’s (Shell Foundation) learning from over the last 17 years. We have found that simultaneous market-building support in four critical areas, delivered through the coordinated actions of a range of stakeholders, is a prerequisite to sustain and accelerate the growth of inclusive markets,” said a statement from Shell Foundation on this.

It further noted that in addition to bringing together public departments in the US and UK, the Grand Challenge has attracted the backing of high-profile corporates and foundations such as Microsoft; Acumen; and the United Nations Foundation, which it said are aligned partners committed to leveraging their investments; capabilities; and networks.

Quoting USAID’s Power Africa Coordinator, Andrew M. Herscowitz, the statement said: “With aligned partners who are investing in or supporting the off grid sector, we can dramatically accelerate the growth of the household energy sector in Africa.”

It explained that USAID; DFID; and Shell Foundation would welcome opportunities to partner with more organisations that share a commitment to expanding energy access in Africa, and to building a vibrant market for off grid energy solutions.

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