KAMPALA — early June, USAID through the U.S. Government’s Power Africa partnership, awarded $465,000 in grants to three private companies to improve energy access and enhance livelihoods and services for Uganda’s refugee and host communities. USAID Uganda Acting Mission Director Rick Somarriba and Power Africa Deputy Coordinator Richard Nelson congratulated Fenix International, Brightlife, and SolarNow for their winning proposals, awarded through the USAID Power Africa De-Risking Pay-As-You-Go Solar Home Systems initiative. They were joined by the Deputy Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ms. Mahoua Parums and Ugandan government representatives.
Power Africa fast-tracks off-grid investment and energy access by incentivizing private sector companies to enter Rwamwanja and Kiryandongo refugee settlements and host communities, where digital payment platforms have the potential to greatly benefit businesses and consumers.
“By supporting these innovators, we are not only promoting energy access, but also financial inclusion and other opportunities that digital financial services can help unlock,” said USAID Acting Mission Director Somarriba. “We hope that lessons and experiences gained through this project will be a catalyst for improving livelihoods in other refugee settlements.” he further added.
USAID and Power Africa’s implementing partners Green Powered Technology and Energy 4 Impact helped design, launch, and select the winning recipients from a number of strong applications received. The grants are part of Power Africa’s contributions to the Smart Communities Coalition, which is working to improve the delivery of essential services to refugees and host communities through enhanced coordination between public and private entities and the strategic introduction of technology.
The Smart Communities Coalition “represents a strategic and coordinated effort between public and private sector partners to work hand-in-hand in support of commercial solutions to humanitarian response that accelerate progress toward creating economic opportunities for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” stated Deputy Power Africa Coordinator Nelson. “The success of these companies will pave the way for them and other companies, to expand into more refugee settlements and host communities, providing employment, livelihood opportunities, and empowerment to hundreds of thousands of individuals,”