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  • Sida-PFAN Initiative on Climate & Clean Energy Financing Showcases Nine Exciting Investment Opportunities in Nairobi

Sida-PFAN Initiative on Climate & Clean Energy Financing Showcases Nine Exciting Investment Opportunities in Nairobi

01 June 2018

Nairobi, 31 May 2018  Nine entrepreneurs pitched exciting, commercially viable climate adaptation and clean energy projects at the Investment Forum for the Sida-PFAN Initiative on Climate & Clean Energy Financing, held in Nairobi last week. In the audience were around 80 investors, energy financing experts and other stakeholders, who attended to learn first-hand about some of the best clean energy investment opportunities in Eastern and Southern Africa this year, with a total investment ask of over US$ 36 million.  

An independent jury chaired by Ladé Araba, Africa Regional representative at Convergence, a global network for blended finance, selected Astonfield Solar and Vitalite Zambia as joint winners of the Business Plan Competition.  

Astonfield Solar pitched for US$ 5 million in equity to expand its highly successful engineering, procurement and construction business for commercial and industrial solar solutions across Kenya and the wider region.

Vitalite Zambia offers pay-as-you-go renewable energy systems for home and productive use, and pitched for US$ 5 million in equity and debt to support the scale-up of its operations to all 10 provinces of Zambia.  

John Fay of VITALITE Zambia pitches at the Financing Forum

Joint runners-up were NewLight Africa, which offers last-mile distribution and consumer finance for clean energy  technology in Kenya and the wider region, and BioCarbon Partners, which runs a carbon offset through forest conservation business in Zambia. 

All the participating companies had received intensive support and advice from PFAN professional coaches to help them structure their financing ask and prepare compelling investment plans based on robust business and financial models. After the investment pitches and over lunch, investors and other attendees had the opportunity to network and speak directly to the attending entrepreneurs. 

Winnie Odhiambo, Associate Partner at I-Dev International and a third-time jury member at PFAN Forums, said that one of the most interesting aspects of the business plans presented was the use of technology to collect data on the users of clean tech solutions. “This data can inform better lending decisions as well as inform the risk levels when pricing premiums. When collected over time, the data points will enhance financial inclusion, as well as provide a mechanism for factual measurement of sustainable development goals by the service providers, that can later be monetized or increase the valuation of these companies.” 

Ameet Shah, Co-Chairman of Astonfield Solar (second from right), receives his winner’s certificate from (left to right) Peter Storey, PFAN Global Coordinator, Ladé Araba, Chair of the jury, and Patrick Nussbaumer of UNIDO.

Of her broader experience as a PFANjury member, Winnie commented: “The investment opportunities I have evaluated have included many different technologies, and have come from various geographies such Mozambique, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, India, Thailand, and Turkey, and hence have provided a fantastic representation of global solutions in clean-energy.” 

The entrepreneurs who took part in the business plan competition were looking for investments ranging from US$ 312k to 10 million, and their projects involve a range of technologies and approaches, including solar, sustainable charcoal production from invasive trees, and carbon offset through forest conservation. PFAN will continue supporting the 10 entrepreneurs to facilitate the investment they need to implement their business plans. 

The Sida-PFAN Initiative for Climate and Clean Energy Financing (SPICCEF) is generously funded by the Government of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The first iteration of the programme in 2016 saw the development of a regional programme of 21 strong projects, with an aggregate investment potential of ca. US$ 264 million and a combined GHG mitigation potential of at least 1.6 million tonnes CO2e per annum. The current iteration has added another 16 projects to this pipeline. 

Since its founding in 2006, PFAN has provided free coaching and investor matchmaking services to over 600 projects. It has helped 102 of those projects reach financial close, leveraging over US$ 1.25 billion of primarily private investment to install over 802 MW of clean generation capacity in 25 developing countries.