Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) Overview

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) aims to build markets for off-grid energy to bring access to clean, affordable off-grid energy to at least 5 million people in Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mozambique and Zambia by 2025. The programme targets primarily the framework conditions of off-grid energy markets and clean cooking solutions, lowering barriers to entry and scale for the private sector; catalysing investment and economic activity; and maximising development and climate impacts per unit of public financing spent. In doing so, it provides a vital structural foundation for market-led delivery of modern, clean energy services to underserved rural and peri-urban areas.

Overview table:

Implementer Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) is managed by the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO), based in Helsinki, Finland, and implemented by REEEP, based in Vienna, Austria as Programme Implementation Manager.
Donors and budget Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida); SEK 500 million (approx. USD 50 million), including SEK 10 million for Liberia (appr. USD 10 million)
Start and end date 2019 – 2024
Aims/objectives The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) aims to build markets for off-grid energy to bring access to clean, affordable offgrid energy to at least 5 million people in Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mozambique and Zambia by 2025.
Geographic coverage Planned coverage: Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mozambique, Zambia
Target groups Private sector stakeholders deploying clean energy services in rural and peri-urban areas
Webpage

https://beyondthegrid.africa/

More information on the programme’s first phase in Zambia can be found here: https://www.reeep.org/bgfz

Contact person

Esméralda Sindou Senior Project Manager, Western Africa

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

   

 

The BGFA approach

Pillar 1. Incentives and Procurement

The backbone of the BGFA approach is an innovative financing mechanism that offers incentives to companies to close the ‘viability gap’, on a per-connection basis, of the rollout and scaling up of clean energy services in areas that would otherwise not represent viable markets.

Pillar 2. Platform for Market Change

When fully established, BGFA will also work with a range of stakeholders to improve market ecosystem conditions through a combination of capacity building and technical assistance, stakeholder outreach and market intelligence development. During the first phase of the programme in Zambia, this work has been formalised as the Off-Grid Energy Task Force, which is embedded in the Ministry of Energy and led by the Ministry of Energy and the Office of the Vice President, with REEEP providing secretariat services. Since its launch in April 2018, this Task Force has met four times and, among other activities, facilitated a VAT exemption for LED lights, the drafting of a new national mini-grid policy and the initiation of discussions to improve the affordability of off-grid energy solutions. A Market Scoping process is still ongoing in Liberia. Provided the outcome of the Market Scoping and subject to donor approval, the aim is to establish and support a similar platform in Liberia, and to facilitate opportunities for inter-country exchange of experiences between Liberia, Mozambique, Zambia and Burkina Faso.

Pillar 3. Market Information and Analytics

With its aim to reach at least 5 million people in four African countries in the next five years, BGFA has the potential to generate very valuable market intelligence, including data on customer willingness and ability to pay. To capture this intelligence, BGFA will combine detailed market analysis with real-time data on deployment of energy service subscriptions. Once the programme is established, the results will be shared through the Platforms for Market Change foreseen in each of the new countries in addition to the one already functioning in Zambia, to be used to inform investment decisions and policymaking. The data will be gathered and analysed through the custom-built Energy Data and Intelligence System for Off-Grid Networks (EDISON), which will be connected to the selected energy provider companies’ internal systems and provide live information on energy service subscriptions sold, payments, upgrades and warranty events, among other data points. This will allow the verification of the results of BGFA in real time, and the data will have potential to de-risk future investments in concerned countries’ off-grid energy markets, and to help guide policymaking. The progress and impacts of the first phase in Zambia can today be followed live on EDISON’s public dashboard (edison.bgfz.org).

Activities and Updates

Market scoping phase

The first phase of this multi-country expansion is a six-month Market Scoping period, during which the BGFA team is exploring the opportunities for applying the Beyond the Grid Fund approach in the anticipated markets, producing a matrix of ongoing energy access programmes and initiatives, assessing key challenges and risks, and developing high-level scenarios for funding rounds in all four focus countries. The market scoping in Liberia includes interviews with key stakeholders in the energy sector such as government actors, donors, energy access programmes and financial institutions; as well as a private sector stakeholder consultation workshop, which took place on Tuesday 29 October 2019 at the Boulevard Palace Hotel in Monrovia. The workshop materials, i.e. the presentations and the workshop report, are available here: https://beyondthegrid.africa/news/outcomes-stakeholder-workshop-monrovia/. The inputs and recommendations gathered from participants during the workshop and subsequent B2B meetings will feed into the design of the BGFA programme for Liberia.

Next steps

BGFA is planning to release a request for bids at the end of the second quarter of 2020, and will share this news with all stakeholders who participated in the workshop and/or engaged with the team during subsequent B2B sessions. If you would like us to keep you up to date with the latest BGFA developments, including the release of the BGFA call for proposals, please sign up to our mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/gIMJcn.