WeLight, a company co-owned by pan-African conglomerate AXIAN Group, has secured €19-million in funding from a group of lenders – including the European Investment Bank (EIB), to help 250,000 people in rural Madagascar gain first-time access to clean electricity.
The Group, comprised of the EIB, Triodos Investment Management and EDFI ElectriFI, a European Union-funded Electrification Financing Initiative, will fund the construction and development of small solar-powered mini-grids in over 120 villages in Madagascar.
In a statement released to the media, AXIAN Group CEO Hassanein Hiridjee said: “Africa has a unique opportunity to spearhead a low-carbon revolution while eliminating energy poverty on the continent. We are delighted that the European Investment Bank, Triodos Investment Management and EDFI ElectriFI are supporting Africa in reaching its clean energy potential.”
According to the stakeholders the financing will help to connect as many as 45,000 households and businesses in Madagascar to the nation’s power grid.
WeLight is co-owned by Norway’s sovereign development bank Norfund and Sagemcom, a firm that installs mini grids and smart metering solutions across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The companies said decarbonisation and climate risk have been at the top of the Davos 2023 agenda this week.
According to World Economic Forum (WEF) research, climate-related risk disruptions, such as heatwaves, have surged by 96% in the past year alone while the top four most severe risks over the next ten years are all environmental.
AXIAN launched New Energy Africa (NEA) in October 2022, a division the Group said will drive investment in both present and future renewable-energy projects across the continent.
NEA represents energy distributors and was established to offer clean power solutions to commercial and industrial operators.
“With more than 40% of Africans still not having access to reliable power, the NEA will play an essential role in overseeing and coordinating innovative energy projects that bolster both energy inclusion and local socio-economic growth,” AXIAN stated.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that Africa is already facing more severe impacts from climate change than most other regions, ‘’despite bearing the least responsibility for the problem’’.
The continent is home to almost a fifth of the world’s population yet accounts for less than 3% of global energy-related carbon emissions, the IEA said.
“Clean technology and access to low-carbon energy will be the foundation of the future global economy,” Hiridjee said. “The world is at a critical juncture, with the need for bold and collective action to decarbonise clearer than ever.”