The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) is today opening the Call for Proposals (BGFA4) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with the aim of accelerating the provision of off-grid energy services in DRC by providing financing to energy service providers active in the country. Nefco, Sweden and the local energy authority ANSER are signing a joint Letter of Intent to support the programme implementation.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest country in Africa and has widespread energy poverty, with very limited affordable off-grid energy solutions. This first Call for Proposals therefore aims to accelerate the market entry and scale-up of commercially sustainable businesses in the country with a focus on reaching underserved communities in rural, peri-urban and some urban areas.

Interested energy service providers (ESPs) are invited to compete for results-based financing for expansion and scale-up of standalone solar home systems, mini-grids and productive use-of-energy solutions in the country. More information and a link to the online application system are available on beyondthegrid.africa.

“We are very pleased to open our first Call for Proposals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to accelerate the scale-up of commercially sustainable energy solutions in the country and to support market development through the deployment of the BGFA programme. In particular, we hope to accelerate access to affordable and clean off-grid energy for customers in small urban centres, peri-urban and rural areas of the country,” comments Ash Sharma, Head of Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa at Nefco.

This fourth BGFA Call for Proposals is expected to offer incentives to off-grid energy service providers to establish up to 110,000 energy connections and some 50 high-tier productive use connections that will benefit more than 500,000 people in DRC. The total financing available under this fourth Call for Proposals is EUR 15 million. The indicative individual contract ticket size per company is expected to be EUR 1-5 million. It is expected that project implementation will start in 2023 and continue until the end of 2027. The BGFA4 funding is provided by Sweden.

“The BGFA programme is an important part of the Swedish engagement in poverty reduction and sustainable development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Renewable energy solutions create jobs both directly in the energy companies and indirectly through access to electricity. Through BGFA, Sweden is committed to increasing electricity access for the most vulnerable populations and catalyse further investments in the energy sector,” says Henric Råsbrant, Sweden’s Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Today, Nefco and Sweden are signing a Letter of Intent with L’ Agence Nationale de l’Électrification et des Services Énergétiques en milieux rural et périurbain (ANSER), the national authority in charge of planning, overseeing and financing off-grid electrification in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to support the implementation of Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa programme in the country. The signing event will be live streamed and can be viewed on the Swedish embassy’s Facebook page today 21 June from 10:00 local time.

“The BGFA programme will bring much-needed investment for accelerating access to off-grid electricity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and support energy service companies to enter and scale up operations in the market. The start of our intensified cooperation and the BGFA Call for Proposals, opening today, come at the right time, as we have just released our rural electrification strategy and launched a subsidy programme for rural electrification and clean cooking, the Mwinda Fund. We are happy to support the programme implementation and work together with Nefco and Sweden,” comments Idesbald Chinamula V, Director General at ANSER in connection to today’s signing ceremony.

A two-stage application process

The BGFA4 application process is divided into two stages: a Pre-Qualification stage and a Final Application stage. The purpose of the Pre-Qualification stage is to ensure Applicants’ compliance with the key eligibility criteria and minimum technical and financial capacity requirements.

The Pre-Qualification stage is open for applications through an online application system. The application forms in the system will open at 16:00 Helsinki time (UTC +3) on 21 June 2022. The application system will close for submissions of Pre-Qualification applications on 29 August 2022. The Pre-Qualification stage, including a review of the applications, is expected to be completed by early October 2022.

Applicants are requested to send any questions regarding the call and application process through the online application system at the latest by 25 July 2022. Answers will be published in a generic form and made available to all registered applicants in the application system on 9 August 2022. Please only post questions related to the BGFA4 Call for Proposals via the online application system’s support section, as specified in the Pre-Qualification Guidelines.

For further information about the Call for Proposals:

Visit beyondthegrid.africa and register for the online application system to apply for funding.

Download Pre-Qualification Guidelines for more information on the application process and eligibility criteria.

For further information, please contact:

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

Aleksandra Reskalenko, Programme Officer at Nefco
aleksandra.reskalenko@nefco.int, +358106180490

About BGFA

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) 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 and fund management. 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.

The current EUR 107.6 million BGFA programme was established in 2019 on Sweden’s initiative through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). It has since been developed by Nefco into a multi-donor programme. Sweden contributes SEK 835 million (EUR 80 million) from the Swedish embassies in all BGFA project countries. Denmark, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributes 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, is supporting the BGFA country programme in Zambia by providing EUR 7.5 million.

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