Altech Group, a Congolese-owned and -managed PAYGO off-grid solar distributor operating in the DRC, announced that it secured $500,000 in financing from UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The funds are split between a $350,000 inventory financing loan and a $150,000 grant for the expansion of Altech’s clean cookstove offerings. This is a consistent investment instrument from the DRC FONAREDD Energy Joint Program funded by the Central African Forest Initiative and from the UNCDF Cleanstart Program.
UNCDF provides catalytic investment finance, primarily in least developed countries (LDCs), to reduce poverty, support local economic development and drive SDG impact. Through its investment sourcing, due diligence, de-risking, and deployment of loans and guarantees, UNCDF aims to foster capital accumulation and market transformation in financially underserved areas by crowding in investment capital from other domestic and international investors.
Altech is already putting the loan to use, which was executed at the end of 2020, and has placed orders for more inventory. The loan allows Altech to increase in-country stock and better meet growing customer demand for solar lanterns and solar home systems. Altech estimates that the loan will help it impact over 60,000 lives over the next few years through solar sales. The expansion of Altech’s clean cookstove offerings will add thousands of more lives impacted, tonnes of CO2 emissions offset and tonnes of wood energy saved.
The UNCDF investment brings the total financing secured by Altech in 2020, via external investors and direct supplier agreements, to over $3 million. Given the supply chain
disruptions as a result of the Coronavirus, securing financing, particularly for inventory, became strategically important for the company.
“We are very pleased to announce the investment from UNCDF, this will help us increase our inventory and meet the customer demand we are seeing” said Washikala Malango, one of Altech’s Co-Founders and Co-CEOs. “Despite being a profitable company, we still find it difficult to secure investments. We hope that having a name like UNCDF on our balance sheet will unlock more investments for our future growth.”
UNCDF’s Renewable Energy Expert in DRC Yves Zawadi remarked that “besides helping Altech meet its inventory financing needs, we hope that UNCDF’s investment can be catalytic for Altech’s growth in signaling the company’s strength to other investors. We also hope our investment shows that investing in DRC is something other investors should be strongly considering.”
About Altech Group: Altech Group is the DRC market leader in the distribution of world-class, pay-as-you-go clean energy products and services. Since its founding in 2013, Altech has built a near-national distribution network, sold over 200,000 products and impacted around 1,000,000 Congolese lives.
About UNCDF: The UN Capital Development Fund makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 46 least developed countries (LDCs). UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development through three channels: (1) inclusive digital economies; (2) local development finance; and (3) investment finance.