The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) will open a funding round in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the end of June 2022. At the BGFA Steering Committee meeting related to the DRC Country Programme, the Donor (Sweden), gave green light to the launch. This is BGFA’s fourth Call for Proposals (BGFA4) to incentivise clean off-grid energy solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest country in Africa, with a widely dispersed population of 94.7 million people. With widespread energy poverty and a national grid that does not reach the majority of the population, there is enormous potential for off-grid solutions for solar home systems, mini-grids and productive-use appliances. The upcoming funding round aims to accelerate the entrance and scale-up of commercially sustainable businesses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a focus on reaching underserved communities in the country.

“The market scoping undertaken during spring 2022 confirmed the acute need for energy access in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with very limited affordability for off-grid energy solutions in most parts of the country. Therefore, we are happy to announce that we will shortly launch an initial funding round in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support the market development and scale-up of energy access across solar home systems, mini-grids and productive use of energy,” commented Dennis Hamro-Drotz, Senior Programme Manager at Nefco.

Sweden is supporting the upcoming Call for Proposals, which will total EUR 15 million in financial incentives, as well as the expansion of BGFA to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support the country in building up a sustainable energy system and increasing the affordability of off-grid solutions.

“The BGFA will be an important part of the increasing Swedish engagement in DRC within environment, climate and sustainable use of natural resources. Access to sustainable energy is key for development and resilience and the BGFA will not only support the development of a sustainable energy sector, but most importantly create opportunities and improve the lives of the Congolese people.”, commented Gustav Isaksson, Program officer Environment, Climate and sustainable use of natural resources at the Swedish embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Call for Proposals, opening on 21 June 2022, invites private sector companies, i.e. energy service providers in the off-grid sector, to apply for the programme through an online application process divided into two stages. Detailed information, selection criteria and guidelines will be made available on the BGFA website beyondthegrid.africa when the funding round opens.

For further information, please contact:

Dennis Hamro-Drotz, Senior Programme Manager at Nefco
dennis.hamro-drotz@nefco.int, +358 10 6180 641

Gustav Isaksson, Program officer Environment, Climate and sustainable use of natural resources at the Swedish embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
gustav.isaksson@gov.se, +243 (0)97 0041 801

About BGFA

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa is a multi-donor facility established and managed by Nefco – the Nordic Green Bank. Nefco is an international financial institution based in Helsinki, Finland, focusing on environmental and climate investments. The BGFA programme is implemented together with its two project implementation partners. BGFA is implemented in partnership with REEEP (the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership), 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 107.6 million BGFA programme was established in 2019 on Sweden’s initiative through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Sweden contributes SEK 835 million (EUR 80 million) from the Swedish embassies in the target countries. It has since been developed by Nefco into a multi-donor programme. Denmark, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, joined the BGFA programme in December 2020 and is now providing DKK 117.5 million (EUR 15.8 million) to support the programme in Uganda. Power Africa, an initiative administered by USAID, is providing an in-kind technical assistance contribution worth USD 4.5 million (approx. EUR 4 million) over three years to help operationalise the initiative and develop a pipeline of commercially viable projects within the framework of BGFA. 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.

Photo: Children watching TV with an off-grid connection through a Solar Home System appliance – Jason Mulikita