EAST AFRICA: UNDP launches innovation competition for off-grid solar

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EAST AFRICA: UNDP launches innovation competition for off-grid solar © Sebastian Noethlichs/ Shutterstock

Through its Climate Aggregation Platform (CAP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is launching an innovation course in off-grid solar financing. The initiative aims to accelerate access to electricity in East Africa.

The CAP Financial Innovation Challenge is open until 31 August 2022. It is an initiative of the Climate Aggregation Platform (CAP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For this first edition, the competition covers East Africa. The competition aims to encourage the development of innovative financial aggregation structures and models that can help increase the availability and reduce the cost of clean energy financing in developing countries.

According to UNDP, its competition will also facilitate the transfer of know-how and innovative solutions that can help overcome energy-related development challenges in developing countries and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 7 on sustainable energy and SDG 13 on climate action.

Financing innovation in East Africa

The CAP Financial Innovation Challenge focuses on stand-alone solar systems, including mini-grids and solar home systems. “Although significant progress has been made, new financial mechanisms and sources of finance are still needed to close the investment gap to achieve the 7th MDG of universal access to clean, affordable and reliable energy by 2030,” says UNDP.

Read also- UGANDA: UNDP and COMESA boost climate-smart agriculture

The CAP Financial Innovation Challenge is open to solutions involving financial aggregation at different levels, such as aggregation of individual assets, projects or companies, as well as other innovative aggregation models, including carbon credit solutions, renewable energy certificates, innovative debt financing models, digital aggregation platforms.

GEF funding

The competition is exclusively for projects in East Africa. These initiatives must be led by “Sell-side” actors, i.e. project owners, initiators or developers and energy companies. The competition is also open to buy-side actors, including commercial and development banks, impact investors, financial intermediaries and crowdfunding platforms. UNDP is also opening this opportunity to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations, digital solution providers, consulting firms, research institutions, industry associations and credit rating agencies.

A total of five projects will be selected, including at least two in Uganda and Rwanda. The winning companies or organisations will receive USD 40,000 to develop their innovations. The CAP Financial Innovation Challenge is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Jean Marie Takouleu

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