The U.S. African Development Foundation, USADF, and All On has announced the official opening of the 2021 Nigeria Off-Grid Energy Challenge, which will provide up to $100,000 in blended finance per enterprise for successful applicants.
The Rockefeller Foundation is also providing support via the All On Hub for the program whose application window opens on January 15 and closes on February 28, 2021.
The annual Challenge is a multi-year partnership that identifies and helps scale innovative off-grid solutions to “power up” unserved and underserved areas in Nigeria. It was established by USADF, a founding member of the United States Power Africa initiative and an independent U.S. Government agency established by Congress to support and invest in African-owned and led enterprises and All On, a Nigerian impact investing company seeded by Shell, that invests in off-grid energy solution providers in Nigeria.
Entering the fourth year of the recently expanded five-year partnership, the parties will jointly provide funding to 100% African-owned and operated small and medium enterprises that improve energy access through off-grid energy solutions spanning solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and gas technologies.
The Challenge has awarded funds to 24 companies to date, totaling $2.4 million in blended finance. This year’s $2,000,000 Challenge will provide up to $100,000 per award for up to 20 enterprises.
The enterprises may be developers of their own technology and/or acquiring and implementing technologies developed elsewhere. All applicants must be legally registered in Nigeria, demonstrate the capacity to track and manage project resources, and operate in good standing with the local governments in their areas of operation. Up to $50,000 will be provided in the form of convertible debt from All On along with up to $50,000 in grant capital from USADF for each selected company.
“We are proud to be partnering again with All On for the fourth edition of an initiative that is fostering the growth of local enterprises committed to bringing power and connectivity to underserved Nigerians,” said C.D. Glin, President & CEO, USADF. “This partnership pioneered a blended finance model that combines grant capital and private sector investment funding that increases access to power and ultimately impacts lives.”
“We are particularly pleased that in spite of a remarkably difficult year in which tough business decisions are being made, the Challenge has been expanded for an additional two years till 2022,” said Wiebe Boer, CEO, All On. “We look forward to more innovative solutions from entrepreneurs in the Nigerian off grid sector.”
Participants will be selected based on their demonstrated abilities to increase sustainable energy access, specifically off-grid solutions, and extend the delivery of electrification to unserved and under-served communities throughout Nigeria.
“These unprecedented times of crisis have shown us how critical innovation is to solving global challenges. The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to continue its support to All On in identifying and nurturing innovative entrepreneurs and businesses that are addressing Africa’s energy poverty by scaling Nigeria’s off grid sector,” said Joseph Nganga, the Executive Director of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Power & Climate initiative in Africa.
USAID’s Power Africa Country Lead David Rogers added, “We’re extremely excited to partner with the Challenge. Through the Nigeria Power Sector Program, we are supporting finalists with financial modeling to advance our shared goal of bringing clean and reliable electricity to Nigerian households and businesses.”