Photo credits: Ecoligo
U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced today a participation of up to US$40 million in the Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund (EEGF), in a mix of junior and senior notes. EEGF offers catalytic financing and technical assistance to early and growth-stage companies that increase access to clean, safe, dependable, and affordable energy for off-grid households and businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The EEGF was created in 2019 by UK charity Shell Foundation (co-funded with UK aid from the UK government) and FMO, the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank. Using blended finance allows EEGF to unlock additional capital and further its positive impact in improving access to energy and advancing women’s economic empowerment. In January of this year, FinDev Canada announced its commitment to EEGF. DFC’s announcement complements last month’s commitment by the Nordic Development Fund and brings commitments to EEGF to US$106 million.
Today, about 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity, which corresponds to three-quarters of the global population without access to energy. Despite progress made over the last decades in reducing the number of people without access to electricity, the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed the trend, pushing many countries away from the goal of achieving universal access by 2030.
“DFC’s investment in EEGF will support businesses that provide access to energy to those who currently lack basic services across Sub-Saharan Africa. By providing additional capital for this transformational work, EEGF will dramatically improve lives in communities in the region and spur economic growth and development,” said Scott Nathan, Chief Executive Officer at DFC.
“Collaboration between international growth capital providers is key to scaling clean energy businesses serving underserved customers,” said Jonathan Berman, CEO of Shell Foundation. “Having co-created the EEGF in 2019 and signed an MOU with DFC in 2021, this deal announcement represents evidence that collaboration can widen pools of investment opportunities for commercially-minded investors, and provides a capital continuum that meets the needs of business in emerging markets and accelerates their ability to scale and positively impact the lives of millions of people.” This transaction marks the first joint transaction emanating from the strategic collaboration entered into by Shell Foundation and DFC in 2021. v
EEGF is managed by Triple Jump, an Amsterdam-based leading impact-focused investment manager, with Persistent, a Nairobi-based venture builder focused on innovative climate businesses in Africa with extensive expertise in the off-grid energy sector, acting as investment advisor to the fund. The fund focuses on access to energy in the broad sense, including rent-to-own and energy-as-a-service operators. It also supports enablers in the sector, such as software providers, retailers, and other distribution businesses.
The fund is designed to provide patient, flexible capital, with a focus on mezzanine instruments, combined with technical assistance that is currently lacking in the off-grid energy ecosystem. EEGF has already been investing and expects to have ten companies in its portfolio by the end of 2022, representing a total investment commitment of US$ 31.5 million. In addition to mezzanine capital, the fund provides equity and debt instruments to achieve tailored solutions that meet the changing needs of growing energy companies. With a fund life of 12 years, EEGF provides a longer investment holding and support period, recognizing the inherent need for such businesses in emerging economies to unlock value creation to their stakeholders.
EEGF’s primary objective is to increase access to energy for off-grid households and businesses. This includes not just the number of people with such access, but also the depth of access that is provided. Further targets include emissions reductions, gender targets, job creation, and additional investment catalyzed. EEGF has an associated Technical Assistance facility and, in addition, Triple Jump and Persistent provide hands-on ‘engine room support’ to the management teams of portfolio companies. The fund supports their responsible growth and enhances the impact of their operations, as well as catalyzing cooperation and innovation in the sector more broadly.
Steven Evers, CEO of Triple Jump, said: “Recent market shocks such as COVID-19 and the increases in food and energy prices are hitting the world’s poorest the hardest. Providing access to clean, renewable, and reliable energy is one change we can make to improve lives. EEGF has already invested in seven businesses, using bespoke capital solutions to meet these enterprises’ specific needs. The fund ultimately aims to reach in excess of 5 million beneficiaries, including over 240 female-led businesses, and avoiding 4.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.”
Palladium supported the early design of the EEGF and acted as the sole transaction advisor on the capital raising.
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U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development finance institution. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. We invest across sectors including energy, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and technology. DFC also provides financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs in order to create jobs in emerging markets. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.
About Shell Foundation
Shell Foundation (SF) is a UK-registered charity established in 2000 that creates and scales business solutions to accelerate access to affordable, renewable energy and transport solutions across Africa and Asia, in support of an inclusive energy transition. To date, the foundation’s work has improved the livelihoods of more than 229m people.
About Triple Jump
Triple Jump is a Dutch impact-focused investment manager with a local presence in Lima, Mexico City, Nairobi, Tbilisi and Bangkok. We provide meaningful investment opportunities in emerging markets, contributing to a more responsible and inclusive financial sector which, in turn, can help solve some of the biggest challenges of our time. With close to USD $1 billion in Assets Under Management, funds managed and advised by Triple Jump provide financing across development themes such as financial inclusion, affordable housing, missing middle finance (SMEs), and climate and nature.
Persistent Energy Capital LLC (Persistent) is Africa’s Climate Venture Builder, a leader and pioneer investor in the distributed renewable energy and e-mobility sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa. Operating out of Nairobi, Lagos, New York and Zurich, Persistent provides, through its venture-building model, early-stage capital and strong operational support to exceptional entrepreneurs. It helps them build innovative businesses that drive climate-positive economic and social development in Africa.
Palladium is a global impact firm, working at the intersection of social progress and commercial growth. For nearly 60 years, the company has been helping clients to see the world as interconnected – by creating strategies, building partnerships, mobilizing capital, and implementing programs that have a lasting social and financial impact. With a global network operating in over 90 countries, Palladium is in the business of making the world a better place. Palladium Impact Capital is Palladium’s capital advisory business, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom.