CEI Africa Announces Intention to Award RBF Grant to Nuru to Electrify Goma Region, DRC

By Sascha Huijsman

2 October 2023

CEI Africa Announces Intention to Award RBF Grant to Nuru to Electrify Goma Region, DRC

Stichting Clean Energy and Energy Inclusion for Africa (CEI Africa) announces its intention to award a results-based financing (RBF) grant for a total of up to USD 3,087,600 to Nuru, a green mini grid (GMG) developer in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for the creation of a 3.7MW solar mini grid with approximately 5,146 connections in underserved communities in the Goma region of DRC.

Nuru was awarded the RBF grant to support the electrification of three neighborhoods in Goma region, the capital of North Kivu province and home to more than 750,000 people.  Prior to Nuru’s projects, these three neighborhoods—Ndosho, Mugunga, and Lac Vert–had limited access to electricity, with average access rates of only 3%. Now, thanks to Nuru, these neighborhoods are poised to enjoy reliable electricity.

Building upon the success of Nuru’s initial 1.3MW metro grid in Goma, this new project will elevate Nuru’s total installed capacity to 5MW, encompassing an impressive 150 km of planned distribution network—a landmark initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over 40,000 direct end-users will benefit from improved energy and public lighting services, sparking transformative change in these vulnerable communities by powering essential services like clean water and telecommunications towers, while also catalyzing new businesses and job opportunities. 

CEI Africa has allocated EUR 21M to support project developers to finance GMGs through RBF, including the provision of technical assistance. Renewvia, Kudura and PowerHive were selected in CEI Africa’s first call for site specific applications. CEI Africa has already expanded its RBF financing of GMGs to include Mali, DRC and Benin. If additional funding becomes available in 2024, further expansion is intended to Sierra Leone, Madagascar and other countries. Nuru’s project supports CEI Africa’s goal of improving energy access for rural households in one of the least electrified countries on the continent, with the potential of being the largest off-grid, fully islanded GMG in Sub-Saharan Africa to date.

“We’re excited about CEI Africa’s RBF program. It expedites Nuru’s ability to bring 24/7 renewable energy to thousands in Goma, DRC, and transforms challenging sites into viable investments. CEI Africa’s support is crucial for derisking and unlocking new projects in fragile settings like DRC, making a massive impact,” said Jonathan. Shaw, Co-Founder and CEO of Nuru.

“The timing of CEI Africa’s DRC funding was perfect. Their support aligns with our equity round, propelling our metrogrid business to profitability and long-term sustainability,” Shaw added. “Our partnership not only provides world-class energy services but also decarbonizes existing sources, building resilient, lsustainable communities. Together with CEI Africa, we’ll help unlock Congo’s incredible human potential by providing access to catalytic energy infrastructure.”

“On behalf of CEI Africa, we are delighted to support expansion of energy access in DRC,” said Claudia Vroom, Board member of CEI Africa. “Electricity is a cornerstone of economic development and companies like Nuru are on the front line of electrifying underserved counties in Kenya, thus supporting the government’s target of universal electrification.”

The RBF grant award is pursuant to fulfillment of certain conditions precedent agreed to between CEI Africa, and Nuru, which includes, among others, the execution of a Grant Agreement. The RBF grant funding will be disbursed upon completion of new electricity connections.

About Nuru: 

Nuru (www.nuru.cd), meaning “light” in Swahili, seeks to provide energy that amplifies the incredible human potential in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By delivering world-class renewable energy and connectivity services, Nuru aims to empower 5 million Congolese people, one connection at a time. Headquartered in Goma, Nuru has been at the forefront of transforming DRC’s energy landscape since it began in 2015.

About CEI Africa:

CEI Africa was established by the German development finance institution KfW on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in 2021 to improve access to energy for rural and peri-urban households and enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa. CEI Africa is managed by Triple Jump B.V., Persistent and GreenMax Capital Group. It is a one-stop shop for mini-grid developers and other off-grid energy companies, offering a variety of financing instruments. The implementation of the Foundation’s Crowdlending window, which provides debt and investment products in collaboration with European Crowdlenders, is led by Persistent. CEI Africa has allocated EUR 28M to support off-grid energy companies and mini-grid project developers through co-financing with Crowdlenders, including the provision of Technical Assistance. GreenMax manages the Results-based and impact-based financing window, offering results-based financing grants and forgivable loans.

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