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Issue 377 - 28 September 2018

DR Congo: BBOXX partners with GE


Off-grid solar company BBOXX and General Electric (GE) announced the launch of a partnership in the Democratic Republic of Congo on 25 September. BBOXX expanded into the country earlier this year, forming a partnership with Victron Energy to supply larger solar systems to businesses in Goma as well as trialling mini-grids. In June, BBOXX signed an agreement with the government to roll out 300,000-400,000 solar systems over five years.

DR Congo

The World Bank announced on 17 January that the International Development Association would provide a $20m grant to help improve the performance of Central African Republic’s power and water suppliers, Energie Centrafricaine (Enerca) and Société des Eaux de Centrafrique (Sodeca), and increase access to water and electricity in the capital Bangui and the towns of Bambari and Berberati.

Central African Republic

The Ministry of Power, Housing and Works, one of the so-called super ministries established in President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term, has been broken into two and a new power minister appointed. Although former minister Babatunde Fashola was not disliked, some in the industry are hopeful the change could result in renewed focus on fundamental issues and end personality clashes at the top of the ministry. The ministry was put under Fashola’s control at the height of his popularity in 2015 following an eight-year stint as governor of Lagos State.


Find ways to store the electricity generated from solar, wind and other renewables, and these technologies may cease to be ‘intermittent’ sources of power – a game-changer that is expected to transform Africa’s electricity supply industry in the next decade or two. “Storage will make a lot of difference to the shape of the grid,” observed Gravitricity managing director and co-founder Charlie Blair, predicting that networks will emerge “without big spines and instead more of a nodal system”.

Issue 404 - 21 November 2019

Sao Tome & Principe: Mini-hydro studies


The Ministry of Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Environment invites expressions of interest by 3 December from consultants to prepare feasibility studies for mini-hydropower plants and provide technical assistance to attract private sector and/or PPP investment.


With elections coming up on 8 May, the power crisis in South Africa has peaked at an inconvenient time for President Cyril Ramaphosa. While opposition parties, particularly the Democratic Alliance, are seeking to make political capital out of the catastrophic deterioration in technical and financial performance at Eskom, there are also concerns that no substantial policy measures are likely until after the elections. This could have implications for policies such as the unbundling of transmission, where the government had aimed to appoint directors for a new entity around mid-year.

South Africa

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $30m investment in the Facility for Energy Inclusion Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI Ogef), which will provide debt finance for the off-grid power sector. Investments have also been approved by Calvert Impact Capital (CIC, $10m), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and €6m ($7m) from the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), which also agreed a €0.5m grant for technical assistance. FEI Ogef comes as rapidly expanding off-grid solar companies are looking at options for raising larger tranches of debt funding.


CrossBoundary Energy Access (CBEA) has announced a debut transaction that will see 60 mini-grids providing power to 34,000 rural households and businesses developed in Tanzania. The deal is the first project financing for a mini-grid, according to CBEA, part of the CrossBoundary Group, which is partnering with PowerGen Renewable Energy for the project. PowerGen was founded in 2011 and has built mini-grids serving more than 50,000 people.CBEA, which describes itself as the first project financing facility for mini-grids, started up this year with $16m of funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and family office Ceniarth LLC.


Rwanda is relying on up to five key projects to meet its target of 556MW generation capacity by 2024. In an interview with African Energy, Rwanda Energy Group chief executive Ron Weiss said the new target was in line with government plans to increase electricity access to 100% by 2024. As of February 2019, 51% of households had access to power (37% of households are connected to the grid, while 14% are connected to off-grid systems).


The Commission de Régulation de l’Electricité et du Gaz (Creg) has awarded only one of seven solar PV projects tendered in June 2018. The 50MW project in Diffel, Biskra region, was awarded to the Power Generation consortium, which is majority owned by Algerian manufacturer Condor. The Ministry of Energy approved two tenders for the deployment of 200MW of solar PV capacity in June 2018.

Issue 337 - 22 December 2016

IFC, FMO invest in Mobisol


The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and Dutch development bank FMO have invested in pay-as-you-go solar provider Mobisol GmbH to help supply renewable energy to off-grid communities in East Africa. IFC’s equity investment of €5.42m ($5.63m), and €9.2m from the AEF and Massif Dutch government funds managed by FMO, brings them into partnership with Investec Asset Management’s African Private Equity Fund and Germany’s DEG, which have already invested in Mobisol.

Issue 370 - 01 June 2018

EEP Africa grant window opens


The Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and Energy and Environment Partnership covering Southern and East Africa (EEP Africa) on 15 May launched the latest grant window, seeking applications from early-stage off-grid and on-grid clean energy projects in the active development phase in Southern and East Africa. EEP Africa is a multi-donor fund hosted by NDF which provides early-stage grant funding to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models.


UK-based off-grid utility BBOXX announced on 7 June that it has signed an agreement with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that will see the company provide power to 2.5m people. BBOXX began operations alongside energy system supplier Victron Energy in Goma, on the border with Rwanda, earlier this year and will expand its operations in the city, as well as Bukavu at the southern end of Lake Kivu and the capital Kinshasa, where it has partnered with Orange Energie.

DR Congo

Société Nigérienne d’Electricité has invited expressions of interest by 1 August from consultants to carry out a technical and economic feasibility study for the electrification of 100 rural communities, comprising around 200,000 inhabitants, through the installation of solar photovoltaic or hybrid mini-grids.


Mozambique’s Energy Fund (Funae) and the Belgian Development Agency (Enabel) are seeking consultants to assist with the development of hybrid solar PV mini-grids. Bids are sought by 15 April for technical, financial, environmental and socio-economic feasibility studies on five potential sites, of which three are located in the coastal area of Zambézia Province (Namanla, Alto Maganha and Idugo) and two in the inland province of Nampula (Muite and Milhana). The mini-grids will supply electricity for domestic and public use, as well as for irrigation systems and small-scale industry.