Over the last months the COVID-19 virus has spread across the globe, with confirmed cases rising sharply in Latin America, Asia and Africa. While most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have been affected to different degrees by the pandemic, the region is expected to be hit hard and faces an unprecedented health and economic crisis. To contain the spread of the virus, Governments across Sub-Saharan Africa have implemented containment measures resulting in critical challenges for businesses. Several countries have partially or fully closed their borders, airports, ports and land borders, and have limited the movement of their citizens by closing schools, banning public gatherings and implementing other social distancing measures.
Although it is too early to assess the impact of COVID-19, it is evident that the restrictions on movements, affecting sales agents as well as product movement, and the overall disruption in economic activity will affect the off-grid energy sector. Reduced customer ability to make timely payments due to increased unemployment and reduced incomes might deteriorate collection rates, resulting in reduced revenues and depleted cash reserves.
As investment capital dries up, the access to energy funding gaps will likely be exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. Through the Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund, Triple Jump offers much needed capital and hands-on support to off-grid energy companies, aiming to sustain growth and increase operational efficiency to mitigate the impact of the crisis. The fund focuses on mezzanine instruments specifically, as these are flexible and risk-tolerant by nature and can be tailored to the specific situation of a company, considering crisis response, recovery plans and adjusted business plans.
Aiming to provide additional support to off-grid energy companies, Triple Jump in collaboration with Open Capital Advisors hosted a webinar series last month to discuss approaches that could mitigate the impact of COVID-19, focusing on business continuity, cash flow and liquidity management. We discussed key challenges and tools that can help off-grid businesses to plan and implement strategies for different scenarios. In addition, we have developed an easy-to-use liquidity and cash flow planning tool that can be applied across energy access companies with diverse business models. Companies can use the tool as part of their COVID-19 business continuity planning to diagnose their business, create various crisis scenarios and assess the liquidity and cash position of the company to make informed decisions and plan effective interventions.
Please find the webinar materials in the links below, and reach out to us at [email protected] to receive the liquidity planning tool and for more information on our support activities for the off-grid energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.