By Rebecca Ejifoma
The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and All On have announced the official opening of the 2021 Nigeria Off-Grid Energy Challenge.
The challenge, according to the organisers, 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 programme whose application window opens on January 15 and closes on February 28.
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.
It was 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.
The parties will jointly provide funding to 100 per cent 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 $2.4m 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.
The President and CEO, USADF, C.D. Glin, said: “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.”
According to Glin, 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.