The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) is today opening the Pre-Qualification stage of its third Call for Proposals (BGFA3) with the aim of accelerating the provision of off-grid energy services in Uganda. BGFA3 invites interested energy service providers (ESPs) to compete for results-based financing under three Funding Lots to expand their standalone and micro-grid solutions in the country.
Interested ESPs are now invited to register via the online application tool, available here, and submit their applications at the latest by 22 June 2021.
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 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 BGFA3 funding is provided by the Danish and Swedish governments.
“We are pleased to open our third Call for Proposals to accelerate the entrance and scale-up of commercially sustainable energy businesses in Uganda through the deployment of our innovative social impact procurement mechanism,” commented Ash Sharma, Head of BGFA.
The plan is to have approximately 10 contracts signed by spring 2022, with project implementation starting in the same year. The energy services are to be made available over a four-year period.
During the implementation phase, successful ESPs will also be eligible to receive technical assistance and business support financed by BGFA, including advice related to, for example, monitoring, evaluation and mobilisation of additional funds.
A two-stage application process
The BGFA3 application process is divided into two stages: a Pre-Qualification stage and Final Application stage. The purpose of the Pre-Qualification stage is to check whether interested off-grid energy companies meet BGFA3 key eligibility criteria and minimum technical and financial capacity requirements.
During the Pre-Qualification stage, applicants are only asked to submit a limited amount of information and documentation to reduce their time and cost of preparing the application. Only applicants that pass the Pre-Qualification stage will be invited to take part in the Final Application stage. During the Final Application stage, applicants will be required to submit a full project proposal, including a detailed business plan, financial model(s) and comprehensive supporting documentation.
The Pre-Qualification stage is open for applications through the SmartME intake system. The application forms in the system will open at 16:00 Helsinki time (UTC +3) on 29 April 2021. The intake system will close on 22 June 2021 for submissions of Pre-Qualification applications. The Pre-Qualification stage, including a review of applications, is expected to be completed by August 2021.
Applicants are requested to send any questions regarding the call and application process through the SmartME intake system at the latest by 31 May 2021. Answers will be published in a generic form and made available to all registered applicants in the SmartME intake system on 8 June 2021.
Ash Sharma, Head of BGFA, Nefco
Ash.firstname.lastname@example.org, M: +358 50 471 2850
Lia Oker-Blom, Senior Communications Officer, Nefco
email@example.com, M: +358 50 325 6610
Erin Stewart, Communications and Marketing Manager, REEEP
firstname.lastname@example.org, T: +43 1 26026 3643
The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa is a multi-donor facility established and managed by the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (Nefco). Nefco is an international financial institution focused on environmental and climate investments based in Helsinki, Finland. BGFA is implemented in partnership with the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral partnership based in Vienna, Austria, working to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy-efficiency solutions in developing countries.
The current EUR 77 million BGFA programme, which is about to grow to EUR 88 million, was established in 2019 on Sweden’s initiative through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Sweden is contributing SEK 635 million (EUR 60 million), with contributions from the Swedish embassies in the target countries. It has since been developed by Nefco into a multi-donor programme. Power Africa, an initiative administered by USAID, is providing an in-kind technical assistance contribution worth approx. EUR 4 million (USD 4.5 million) over three years to help operationalise the initiative and develop a pipeline of commercially viable projects within the framework of BGFA. Denmark, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, joined the BGFA programme in December 2020, providing an initial EUR 5 million (DKK 37.5 million), and is expected to provide an additional EUR 10.8 million (DKK 80 million; subject to final parliamentary approval) to support the expansion to Uganda. Germany, through its development bank KfW, has joined the BGFA country programme for Zambia with a focus on mini-grids, providing EUR 7.5 million. The BGFA programme remains open to donors as a cost-effective tool to finance future Calls for Proposals through existing or new country programmes and expand access to clean energy to millions of people in remote areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.
BGFA supports, in particular, the objective of Sustainable Development Goal 7, to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, modern energy for all by 2030, as well as the Paris Agreement on climate change and host country priorities.