KawiSafi Ventures Fund
Creating a new investment fund, KawiSafi, to drive off-grid solar power in East Africa. Investing in 10-15 clean energy companies, initially in Rwanda and Kenya, providing household solar technologies. Aiming to drive a low-carbon paradigm shift and leapfrog fossil fuel grids to clean energy, using equity capital from GCF to leverage investment, and grant capital to set up a Technical Assistance Facility.
Rwanda has 70% of its population living off-grid, and even a planned massive investment from the government will leave over 3.5 million without power. Energy costs are high, both for on- and off-grid customers, because of a heavy reliance on imported oil and kerosene. In Kenya, 80% live off-grid with 35 million without access to affordable and reliable electricity. Lighting costs in particular are very high for rural off-grid Kenyans, who spend around 26% of their income on kerosene, which is expensive, dangerous, and harmful to health. Rapid population growth is increasing demand for electricity and placing further demands on grid supply. The Fund will consider expansion to Uganda over time, which has even lower electrification levels and heavy reliance on fuel wood for cooking.
The KawiSafi portfolio will be the world’s first climate change fund targeting low-income populations in developing countries. Investments of USD 2-10 million per company will be made in 10-15 clean energy small- and medium-sized enterprises. Lack of electricity and high kerosene use will be addressed through affordable clean household solar energy solutions such as solar lanterns, solar home systems, and solar mini-grids. KawiSafi will also invest in other parts of the ecosystem such as consumer finance, mobile payment, and metering/monitoring technologies. The Technical Assistance Facility will identify and address core needs of portfolio companies to support their scale and financial viability.
The project has an estimated lifespan of 12 years.
- Private sector
- Public sector
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