The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) says it will avail additional funding for upcoming solar projects in Zimbabwe.
This comes as the organisation has already made a $10 million commitment towards funding of solar energy projects in four African countries including Zimbabwe this year.
The fund which was formed in 2008 at the World Economic Forum in South Africa sources funds from investors and finances companies in different sectors of the economy.
AECF fund consultant Oliver Bowler told The Herald Business last week that funding will be availed for existing solar businesses so that they can scale up to profitability levels.
“The funding will be used to scale businesses so that they can reach more customers and improve people’s lives in rural areas. “Because we will do this in several investments to many companies we will therefore create a wider market which is investment-ready,” said Bowler.
“This will make investors feel safe and comfortable in committing their fund for a financial and social return in the solar household system market,” he said. Bowler said the fund will be providing grants from $250 000 to $1, 5 million for development of different solar projects.
“These will be invested into businesses so that they can grow and scale their business models to be more profitable and make a greater impact for socio-economic and gender factors.”
AECF portfolio manager Victor Ndiege recently said that the Fund is targeting both start-up and established companies. He said the funding tenure is up to five years. “In 2010 we introduced a renewable energy portfolio and specifically for this session we have come to promote renewable energy projects which are focusing on four countries across Africa namely Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Sierra Leone.
“Currently we have 10 grantees in Mozambique who are benefiting from our funding and they have received investment of $13 million in the last four years. We have come back now with another $10 million to be competed through and hoping to bring on board another 10 or 12 companies across the four countries.
In Zimbabwe the organisation has also financed Better Agriculture, a company that has been promoting chilli production with rural farmers and is now expanding into regional and international markets.