Investors, banks to ‘show’ Nigeria’s RE operators where the ‘money’ is

‘Show me the money!’ – the punchy line from the 1996 comedy-drama sports film, Jerry Maguire – where Jerry secured an $11.2 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals for Rod Tidwell after Rod convinced Jerry he was worthy of the multi-million dollars contract, is about to be recreated in Nigeria’s renewable energy market when investors and local banks meet with operators soon.

While not exactly like it was in the movie, a statement from the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF) however explained that a ‘tell-it-all’ conference has been organized by it in partnership with key investors and banks to ‘show [them] the money’ and other resources they will need to grow their renewable energy portfolios.

SUNREF, a green financing line for businesses was developed by the French Development Agency (AFD); it stated that the renewable energy and energy efficiency investor conference will be hosted in partnership with the Nigerian Energy Support Program (NESP) and Shell-funded impact investor, All On.

The NESP is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) while All On has portfolios of investments in Nigeria’s off-grid renewable energy market. According to the SUNREF, the conference is aimed at attracting investment into Nigeria’s renewable energy and energy efficiency sector.

“The conference will bring together investors, banks (Access Bank and UBA), technical assistance providers, renewable energy and energy efficiency project developers, government agencies and other stakeholders and provide a platform to discuss access to finance for RE/EE projects.

“Investors and banks will talk about their available financial schemes targeted to RE/EE and project sponsors will present some of their most representative projects to the financiers,” the statement said.

Furthermore, the online conference will allow the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) an opportunity to host a ‘matchmaking’ session with manufacturers and other businesses, from which qualified developers and manufacturers in Nigeria could link up to pen deals that offer energy and cost saving solutions.

Deals expected from the matchmaking session could also help parties put together applications worthy of SUNREF’s support.

“The main goal is to provide a starting point for those businesses that are interested in RE/EE solutions and want to take advantage of the concessionary lending and technical assistance that the SUNREF Nigeria programme has to offer but they are not sure where [to] begin.

“SUNREF Nigeria is a USD $70 million credit facility funded by the AFD and the European Union Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-ITF) which was launched in July 2020 for the development of green projects in Nigeria. It will also provide grants for 10% of the loan amount and technical assistance to support RE/EE projects,” it added.

According to the statement, the SUNREF Nigeria programme is targeting to improve access to energy through improved access to affordable finance for renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency initiatives that will improve lives, increase economic opportunities and support various sectors such as industry and agriculture.

Additionally, it works by targeting local entrepreneurs the AFD cannot directly finance such as SMEs and individuals through financial intermediaries.

The programme also disseminates technical know-how and good practices through its technical assistance component to improve energy security and develop a functioning and sustainable green energy market.