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Energy Access Ventures Fund launched: boost for access to energy in Sub-Saharan Africa

Fund to be managed by Aster Capital – Energy Access Venture (EAV) jointly backed by Schneider Electric, CDC Group – the UK Department for International Development (DFID), European Investment Bank, FISEA – PROPARCO, OFID, and AFD- FFEM

Fund has secured commitments of EUR 54.5 million to invest in African SME with an aim to provide first ever electricity for a million people by 2020

Rueil-Malmaison (France) – WEBWIRE

Schneider Electric in partnership with, CDC Group – the UK Department for International Development (DFID), European Investment Bank, FISEA – PROPARCO, OFID, and AFD- FFEM, announce the launch of the Energy Access Fund to improve access to sustainable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa. The new fund will transform lives and stimulate economic development across Africa by providing access to electricity for a million people by 2020.

The Professional Private Equity Fund which will be managed by Aster Capital and advised by Energy Access Venture (EAV) company based in Africa, has secured commitments of EUR 54.5 million to invest in 5-year instruments for around 20 African SME. 

625 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity¹.  Lack of electricity holds back social progress, economic growth and environmental improvements. The Energy Access Ventures Fund will to provide long-term funding to support access to energy for the poorest populations by strengthening local energy infrastructure.

The Fund will target smaller businesses in Africa that specialize in promoting low-carbon and low cost electricity access solutions in rural areas and close to main towns and that cannot access regular finance. It will focus in a first instance on Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In addition to funding, a range of technical support will be provided to offer practical help and advice for local businesses concerning management, governance, energy efficiency, and environmental best practices. The Fund will also provide the following resources to its selected beneficiaries:

  • Access to skilled professionals via Schneider-Electric operations staff (engineers, procurement specialists, marketing experts and engineering consultants) to support local businesses and share their skills to reinforce existing human capital;
  • A social and environmental impact assessment of their activities to help reduce their environmental impact;
  • Technical advice to help meet international compliance regulations;

The objective of the Energy Access ventures Fund is to combine economic investment, innovation, and skill development. The Fund will be backed by the experience acquired as the investment arm of the Schneider Electric Energy Access fund (SEEA), to help develop entrepreneurial initiatives to improve access to energy.

¹  2014 Report World Energy Outlook by the International Energy Agency (IEA)

About Schneider Electric
A global specialist in energy management with operations in over 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Residential & Non-residential Buildings, Manufacturing & Machine Tooling, Utilities & Infrastructures, and Data Centres & Networks. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the Group’s 170,000-plus employees achieved sales of 25 billion euros in 2014, through an active commitment to helping individuals and organisations make the most of their energy.

About CDC Group
CDC is the UK government-owned development finance institution that uses its own balance sheet to invest in the developing countries of Africa and South Asia.
CDC’s mission is to support the building of businesses in Africa and South Asia, creating jobs and making a lasting difference to people’s lives in some of the world’s poorest places. Under its new strategy, CDC provides debt and direct investment to businesses as well as acting as a fund-of-funds investor. CDC now only makes new investment commitments in Africa and South Asia. It has net assets of £2.8bn.

About the Impact Programme
The Impact Programme was launched by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in 2012 to catalyse the market for impact investment in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. As part of this programme, the DFID Impact Fund, a fund of funds managed by CDC, the UK’s Development Finance Institution, aims to provide finance to more than 100 enterprises via impact investment intermediaries and catalyse additional private capital.

About the European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

PROPARCO est une institution financière de développement conjointement détenue par l’Agence Française de Développement (AFD) et par des actionnaires publics et privés du Nord et du Sud. La mission de la société est de favoriser les investissements privés dans les pays émergents et en développement en faveur de la croissance, du développement durable et de l’atteinte des Objectifs du Millénaire (OMD). PROPARCO finance des opérations économiquement viables, socialement équitables, soutenables sur le plan environnemental et financièrement rentables. PROPARCO figure parmi les principales institutions financières de développement bilatéral au niveau mondial. La société investit dans un champ géographique allant des grands pays émergents aux pays les plus pauvres, notamment en Afrique.

The Investment and Support Fund for Businesses in Africa (FISEA) was set up in 2009. It is held by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and managed by PROPARCO. This fund makes equity investments in businesses, banks, microfinance institutions and investment funds in Sub-Saharan Africa. FISEA has a five-year investment target of EUR 250m, in addition to private investment funds. It targets the most unstable or post-crisis regions, as well as sectors traditionally bypassed by investors, such as agriculture, microfinance and health care. A EUR 5m grant has been earmarked for technical assistance to companies in its investment portfolio.

About OFID
The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) is the development finance institution established by the Member States of OPEC in 1976 as a collective channel of aid to the developing countries. OFID works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international donor community to stimulate economic growth and alleviate poverty in all disadvantaged regions of the world. It does this by providing financing to build essential infrastructure that meets basic needs—such as food, energy, clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education—and works to promote productivity, competitiveness and trade. Energy poverty alleviation is a key strategic goal for OFID, and it is working with its partner countries to prioritize universal access to sustainable energy services. For more information, please visit

About FFEM
The French Facility for Global Environment / Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM) is a bilateral public fund initiated by the French Government. The FFEM co-finances projects that encourage the protection of the global environment in developing countries. Its co-financing is used for the implementation of pilot projects that combine environmental protection and economic development in the recipient countries. Its activities focus on the topics of biodiversity, international waters, the climate change, land degradation and desertification, persistent organic pollutants and the stratospheric ozone layer. By the end of 2014, the FFEM has co-financed 275 projects with €317m.

About Energy Access Ventures
Energy Access Ventures (“EAV”) is the investment advisor to EAF.  Its initial team is Dr Michael Gera, Simon Karunditu and Emmanuel Beau.  The team has significant investment, operational and investment experience and will be largely based on the ground in East Africa


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