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Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia (BGFZ) reached its successful conclusion – the delivery of energy service subscriptions to over 1 million Zambians.

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About this Programme

The Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia (BGFZ) reached its successful conclusion – one million lives lit up. Launched in 2016, the pilot programme was funded by Sweden and implemented by REEEP as an ambitious results-based financing multi-year programme aiming to increase energy access, accelerate private-sector growth in energy generation and distribution in the country, improve livelihoods and catalyse economic activity in rural and peri-urban areas

BGFZ’s objective was to bring modern affordable energy services to at least 192,000 households – translating to one million Zambians – by 2021. This target was achieved in September 2021, and the results were acknowledged by public and private stakeholders at an acknowledgement event in Lusaka in March 2022. Building on the success of this pilot, the programme was expanded into the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) in 2019, which brings the concept to five additional countries along with more financing to further improve energy access in Zambia.

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BGFZ's Awards

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2019 Ashden Award for Innovative Finance

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2019 UN Global Climate Action Award

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2021 Energy Globe Prize for Zambia

BGFZ had four companies in its portfolio

  • Fenix International Zambia (now part of Engie Enegry Access)
  • VITALITE
  • Emerging Cooking Solutions (now Supamoto)
  • Standard Microgrid

BGFZ delivered energy service subscriptions to over

1 M Zambians

BGFZ'S three pillar approach

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Step 1

Calls for Proposals

The backbone of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia approach was an innovative financing mechanism that offers incentives to companies to close the ‘viability gap’, on a per-connection basis, of the rollout and scaling up of clean energy services in areas that would otherwise not represent viable markets.

Step 2

Platform for Market Change

The platform for market change was designed to amplify learning between stakeholders in the off-grid energy market and coordinate with relevant stakeholders such as government, donors, financiers and private sector actors to promote synergies and avoid duplication of efforts, provide market information, coordinate capacity and awareness building and meet specific needs of the private sector providing off-grid energy solutions to rural and peri-urban areas in Zambia. With support from REEEP, the platform for market change in Zambia was formalised as the National Off-grid Task Force (OGTF) in February 2018 to provide a focus for coordination and oversight of initiatives designed to raise the profile of the potential of the off-grid sector in Zambia and deliver increased energy access, particularly in rural areas, in line with the objectives of the Zambian Government.

Step 3

Data collection and Analysis

Real-time and data collection and analysis that was handled through REEEP’s custom-built Edison platform. The data on improved energy access has also been leveraged for investor engagement and government planning as well as design of additional market-supporting measures in Zambia. Edison is now open source since 2022 and is scaled as a revised version (Prospect) with funding from Sida and GIZ and continues to contribute to improved energy access.

Successful completion

BGFZ Results

  • BGFZ reached a successful completion and provided quality clean energy access to over one million Zambians by connecting 194,000 households by 31 December 2022 with >50% of the customers living in rural areas and 30% of the primary customers being women. The four companies in the portfolio reached 72% of the total contracted energy service subscriptions, despite considerable disruption and negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020 – 2022 which disrupted supply chains, sales activity and increased risk-aversion of funders, particularly in challenging markets such as Zambia. By enabling access to clean energy, the programme also contributed to GHG mitigation with an estimated total annual mitigation of 12,300 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
  • Through de-risking, incentivizing and promotion of successful business models for scale-up, BGFZ facilitated long-term sustainable operations and contributed to market development and improvement of sector standards and gender equity. By the end of 2022, Sida had released 91.5% of the allocated BGFZ funds to the four companies which has leveraged a total of USD 50.4 million of finance from the companies themselves as well as from over 25 third-party financiers.

BGFZ Impact Report

60 Decibels, a global, tech-enabled impact measurement company conducted an independent verification of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia.
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Management and Implementation

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Funders

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