Nefco, the Nordic Green Bank, supports companies working with green solutions to accelerate the green transition and help provide clean energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa. Available financing includes grants for feasibility studies, results-based financing for the scale-up of clean cooking and off-grid energy solutions and loan financing for long-term investments.

In Africa, Nefco supports Nordic SMEs to establish a local presence and scale up their innovative green technologies as well as established private companies, working with renewable energy and clean cooking solutions, to help them accelerate their business growth. Through two multi-donor programmes, Nefco supports the development of clean energy markets, currently in nine Sub-Saharan African countries. These programmes offer results-based financing to companies to scale up their businesses providing off-grid energy products and cooking solutions, which will benefit millions of Africans before 2030.

Results-based funding to provide energy access to households and small businesses – Open funding round in Uganda

Today, over 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa live without access to electricity. Many of these people live in rural and peri-urban areas that are not connected by the central electricity grid and where, due to geography and/or widely dispersed populations, expansion of the grid would be too costly and technically difficult.

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) aims to reduce this gap by stimulating and accelerating new business models to incentivise the private sector to offer affordable and clean energy access at scale to underserved people in these areas.

Private companies can apply for financing from the programme through the funding rounds of the announced Call for Proposals. So far, five funding rounds have taken place to provide sustainable and high-quality energy services and solutions in Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia. The latest funding round in Uganda is currently open to companies until early May. Read more

“We maintain an active dialogue with funded companies and are able to support them in their business growth in these challenging markets by providing technical assistance together with our programme partners,” comments Kari Hämekoski, Senior Programme Manager at Nefco.

The current EUR 126 million of BGFA funding, with a total expected programme value of some EUR 500 million, aims to establish up to 1.44 million energy connections by 2028, benefiting more than 6.5 million people in Africa. The programme is funded by Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden.

Visit the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa home page to learn more.

For more information, please contact:

Kari Hämekoski, Senior Programme Manager at Nefco
kari.hamekoski(a), +35810 618 0660

Kari Hämekoski, Senior Programme Manager, Nefco. Photo: Jussi Ratilainen

Case: Solar-powered MOPO Batteries to increase access to electricity and power for low-income customers in Liberia

Mobile Power Limited, Liberia provides short-term rentals of solar-charged batteries. The batteries can be used for a wide variety of applications, for example to charge mobile phones, power external light bulbs, run TVs and provide household energy for up to 24 hours. The large batteries can also replace generators and power a range of electric vehicles, for example electric motorbikes. In January 2022, the company became one of the first applicants to secure funding from BGFA to develop its subsidiary in Liberia and reach customers in remote and challenging areas of the country that otherwise would not be considered commercially feasible. Read more

Women renting a MOPO battery at a charging wall in Liberia. Photo: Mobile Power

Support for high-technology cooking solutions to accelerate market creation

Over 4 billion people globally, including almost 900 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, lack access to modern and clean cooking solutions. The Modern Cooking Facility for Africa (MCFA) supports access to and scale-up of high-tier clean cooking solutions, currently in six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The programme financially incentivises companies that provide clean cooking solutions to offer affordable, high-quality and energy-efficient clean cooking services to end-customers in MCFA project countries, thereby accelerating the creation of a long-term sustainable market.

“The first funding round was opened in spring 2022 with the aim of supporting about 10 businesses. Nefco expects to launch a second funding round in late 2023 with the aim of supporting a further 4-7 companies,” comments Heli Sinkko, Programme Manager at Nefco.

The overall aim of the current EUR 45 million MCFA funding amount is to provide access to clean cooking solutions for approximately 3 million Africans by the end of 2027 by enabling the distribution of clean cookstoves and associated fuels, such as sustainably produced solid and liquid biofuels and electric cooking solutions.

The programme will also have significant environmental benefits, including mitigating deforestation and avoiding CO2 emissions, as well as improving overall health and increasing economic growth in the project countries. The programme is funded by Sweden and the European Union.

Visit the Modern Cooking Facility for Africa home page to learn more

For more information, please contact:

Heli Sinkko, Programme Manager at Nefco
heli.sinkko(a), +358 10 6180 659

Heli Sinkko, Programme Manager, Nefco. Photo: Jussi Ratilainen

Available financing for Finnish companies planning to expand to or scale up an existing presence in Africa: