Gogla is excited to announce that 20 African companies have been selected to participate in ELEVATE, a pilot programme to support the next generation of locally-owned and managed companies in the off-grid solar sector.
The programme will bridge the gap between African companies and international networks and financiers, and enhance their investor readiness. It will offer a specialized suite of technical expertise that will accelerate the companies’ ability to reach rural homes and businesses with life-changing solar electricity.
Why is this initiative important?
600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are still living without electricity – using instead kerosene, candles, or highly polluting diesel generators to light and power their homes. Off-grid solar provides the fastest and most affordable way to bring clean energy access to millions of homes and businesses. Yet, whilst energy access is a chronic challenge across the continent, African off-grid solar companies often have a harder time accessing funds than international ones.
Today, most of the investment in the sector is concentrated in companies with European or American founders. This risks both overlooking valuable local knowledge when addressing the complex challenge of electricity access, and missing the opportunity to bring powerful African entrepreneurship into the off-grid solar industry.
The selected companies have the potential to significantly help meet the energy needs of their countries: they cover a range of technologies from solar home systems to commercial, industrial and agricultural solutions. Many of them include PAYGo solar to offer a more affordable payment alternative to customers who cannot afford a cash payment for the products they need.
“Locally-owned clean energy access companies in sub-Saharan Africa are well positioned to serve last-mile customers. Through ELEVATE, we hope to bridge their access-to-finance gap, thereby enhancing their contribution towards achievement of SDG7.” said Francis Wainaina, Sr. Project Manager at GOGLA.
ELEVATE will provide training, mentoring and networking to African leaders in the off-grid sector.
Participating companies will access specialized resources and tools to help them accelerate their growth and better understand the international financing landscape. As the CEO of one of the participating companies, Ghirmay Abraham of Aptech Africa from Uganda, noted: “We expect to access linkages to investors and financiers that will open doors to supporting Aptech in its growth as a company, and in its mission to provide clean energy and water to people across Africa.”
While CEO & Founder Rekik Bekele from Green Scene Energy PLC in Ethiopia explained: “Our motivation for joining ELEVATE is to strengthen our investment readiness by gaining access to financial and technical expertise that will help Green Scene in accelerating its growth in order to meet its five-year goal of delivering electricity access to 600,000 Ethiopian rural households.”
As well as supporting African clean energy leaders, the programme also aims to improve the number of female CEOs represented in the off-grid solar sector, with several women-led companies included in the successful cohort.
ELEVATE is a complementary service to the GET.invest Finance Readiness Support that was launched by the European programme GET.invest, supported by the European Union, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Austria, in November 2021. “ELEVATE is a great fit with our GET.invest Finance Readiness Support, which assists early-stage locally owned and managed companies in the energy access space in accessing formal finance. Through our close collaboration with the ELEVATE team at GOGLA, we are certain that many more locally owned and managed companies can be empowered to better support under-served populations in sub-Saharan Africa.”, highlighted Michael Franz, Team Leader at GET.invest.