At COP27: Public funding to support private sector innovation and scale-up to increase clean energy access

Nefco and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland arranged a side event on how to support the development and scale-up of climate solutions and energy access in rural areas. Focus was on developing the agricultural sector and improving food security in Africa. Insights by representatives from the private sector, Nordic governments and intergovernmental organisations were complemented by local perspectives from Uganda and Zambia.

Read more on BGFA website

BGFA welcomes Norway as the latest contributor

It was announced at COP27 that Norway is joining the BGFA programme with EUR 19 million, to support the acceleration of affordable energy access in underserved communities with the focus on supporting the BGFA-selected energy service providers in Burkina Faso, Liberia, Uganda and Zambia. The contribution will support to establish over 400,000 energy service connections by the end of 2027, which will benefit more than 2 million people.

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa received strong interest for its funding round in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The first funding round in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) attracted great interest among private sector companies, i.e. energy service providers in the off-grid sector, active on the market. In total, 40 applications were received, of which 29 passed the initial screening and are now undergoing detailed evaluation.

Read more

What's behind the successful concept

How did it all start? What makes the BGFA initiative so special? What needs to be taken into account when rolling out a financing programme like BGFA? Watch the video to learn more about the BGFA concept, its impact and how it all started from the actors behind the initiative.

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.

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 BGFA programme aims, with so far four funding rounds, to establish up t0 1.45 million energy connections by 2028, benefiting more than 6.5 million people in Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia.

Current funding programmes

The Democratic Republic of Congo (BGFA4)

A first Call for Proposals in the Democratic Republic of Congo closed for applications on 29 August 2022. The Pre-Qualification stage was completed during October 2022.

Successful applicants will be invited to a Final Application stage in November 2022.

The Call invited private sector companies, i.e. energy service providers in the off-grid sector, to apply for financing. Kindly see and Pre-Qualifications guidelines for detailed information about the application process and selection criteria.

Uganda (BGFA3)

BGFA has closed its third Call for Proposals (BGFA3) 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 Uganda. The total financing included under this third Call for Proposals is EUR 20.7 million, split into three Funding Lots. The indicative individual contract ticket size per company is expected to be EUR 1.2–4 million depending on the Lot.

The Pre-Qualification stage closed for applications on 22 June 2021. BGFA received 30 applications, of which 19 passed the internal completeness check. The applicants passing the review stage has been invited through the SmartMe online system on 14 September 2021 to take part in the Final Application stage and submit full project proposals. The Final Application stage is expected to be completed by February 2022.

BGFA3 is offering incentives to off-grid energy service providers that are expected to enable the establishment of up to 600,000 energy connections and benefit more than 3 million people in remote areas of Uganda. The plan is to have approximately 10 contracts signed by spring 2022, with project implementation starting in the same year. The BGFA3 funding is provided by the Danish and Swedish governments.

Mozambique (BGFA2)

The Pre-Qualification stage for the second Call for Proposals for Mozambique (BGFA2) closed for new applications on 29 March 2021. BGFA received 17 applications, of which 10 passed the internal completeness check. The aim is to proceed with the Final Application stage during spring 2022.

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 Final Application stage for the first Call for Proposals (BGFA1), for Burkina Faso, Liberia and Zambia, has been finalised and applications passing the Final Application stage are currently in the due diligence review stage. First projects have been contracted and further supported projects will be announced during spring 2022.

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 under BGFA1 and 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 have been entered into with customers, bringing clean and affordable energy to more than 3.5 million people in peri-urban and rural areas.

Project Implementation Partners

The BGFA programme is implemented by Nefco together with its two project implementation partners. NIRAS is a development and engineering consultancy company headquartered in Denmark with offices in over 25 countries across Europe, Africa, South Asia and Latin America. The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral partnership based in Vienna, Austria, works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy-efficiency solutions in developing countries.


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, Norway through Norad – The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Germany through the KfW Development Bank, and PowerAfrica, an initiative administered by USAID. Nefco is managing the facility and the programme is implemented in cooperation with Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP).

Sweden is contributing EUR 80 million (SEK 800 million) for the first expansion into Burkina Faso, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the second phase in Zambia, to the separate expansions into Mozambique and Uganda. Denmark is supporting the expansion into Uganda with an EUR 15.8 million contribution (DKK 117.5 million). Norad is contributing EUR 19 million (NOK 200 million), to support the acceleration of affordable energy access in underserved communities with the focus on supporting the BGFA-selected energy service providers in Burkina Faso, Liberia, Uganda and Zambia. 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, is supporting the Zambian Country Programme with an EUR 7.5 million contribution.

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.

Sweden logo





Logo Danida MFA


Power Africa - a U.S. Government-led partnership



Further information

Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa

Go to the Beyond the Grid Fund website >>

Staff news in the BGFA Unit of Nefco

With effect from 1 December 2021, Ash Sharma has taken over Helle Lindegaard’s responsibilities as Vice President and Head of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) Unit in Nefco, and Helle has undertake the role as Executive Advisor, providing support to the Managing Director of Nefco, Ash and the BGFA team.


Do you have a general question about BGFA Calls for Proposals?

General questions related to BGFA Calls for Proposals can be submitted by using this web form. Questions related to an ongoing Call shall be sent through the online intake system. For other enquiries or complaints, kindly use the other listed forms.