UK Aid is set to invest £1.6 million of capital into Energise Africa to improve access to energy across sub-Saharan Africa and improve the lives of over 11 million people, while boosting UK business opportunities.
Launched in 2017 by Europe’s leading online impact investing platforms Lendahand and Ethex, with support from UK Aid and Virgin Unite, Energise Africa has so far raised £4.8 million from 1,000 investors to help more than 195,000 people in Africa access affordable solar energy.
The platform enables UK investors to invest in early stage businesses that provide solar technologies to homes, schools, hospitals, and farmers – boosting vital services and economies in sub-Saharan Africa, whilst aiming to generate up to a 6% annual return for investors. Investors are also be able to benefit from tax free returns by holding their Energise Africa solar investments within an Innovative Finance ISA.
Boosting opportunities for businesses in this growing market is a key priority for UK Aid. Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin said:
The additional £1.6 million of capital to the Energise Africa platform will attract crowd investment from 1,500 new small UK investors, and connect at least 125,000 more people to clean, reliable energy – allowing the programme to reach a total of 325,000 people.
Energy 4 Impact, which manages the grant on behalf of UK Aid, supports this initiative by conducting research on the effectiveness of different types of interventions in crowd funding campaigns (e.g. match funding, lump sum payments, first loss) in order to drive co-funding opportunities.