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KawiSafi Ventures Fund in East Africa

TONNES of CO2 Anticipated tonnes of CO2 equivalent avoided


Mitigation & Adaptation
GCF results areas
  • Energy generation and access
  • Livelihoods of people and communities
Gender benefits This project will train women to become solar technicians. UN Sustainable Development Goal
  • #7 Affordable and clean energy

Location & People

  • Africa
  • Kenya KEN
  • Rwanda RWA
Beneficiaries (approx.) 15,000,000

Investment Data

  • Financing:
    • Public
    • Public / Private
    • Private
  • Project size:
    • Micro
    • Small
    • Medium
    • Large
  • E&S Risk category:
    • Category I1
    • Category I2
    • Category I3
Total project investment
GCF Financing
  • Instrument Equity USD
  • Instrument Grant USD
  • Other Investors Equity USD
  • Capital providers to TA Facility Grant USD

Project owners

Accredited Entity Executing Entity
  • Acumen Capital Partners LLC United States
KawiSafi Ventures Fund in East Africa Approved November 2015 Est. implementation period 5.0 years Est. completion date 16 August 2021
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.
Document title
Published date
Approved funding proposal FP005 - Acumen - Kenya and Rwanda 22 Mar 2017
Accredited Entity
  • Acumen Fund, Inc. (Acumen) Ms. Lynn Roland Tel: +1 646 747 3955 Ms. Katherine Montgomery Tel: +1 646 747 3955
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