19th November 2020 – Bboxx, a next generation utility, has secured a $4 million loan from the Facility for Energy Inclusion Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI OGEF), a debt fund managed by Lion’s Head Global Partners (LHGP).
The loan will accelerate Bboxx’s operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) across Kivu, Ituri and Tshopo provinces with ambitions to expand further in the country. Currently, only around 19% of the DRC population have access to electricity, and for those that do have access, electricity can be unreliable1.
The DRC is already a core market for Bboxx, who manufacture, distribute and finance decentralised solar powered systems in developing countries. The company has positively impacted many lives through access to clean, reliable and affordable energy – and this new funding will provide the opportunity to further increase Bboxx’s impact in the DRC. Earlier this year, Bboxx announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the DRC Government, with the aim of bringing clean energy to 10 million citizens, equivalent to 10% of the population.
This debt financing from FEI OGEF builds on the Fund’s $8 million loan made in May 2019 to turbocharge Bboxx’s energy access plans in Rwanda. FEI OGEF is a USD$100 million blended finance debt fund that provides predominantly secured financing to support the growth of innovative companies in the off-grid energy sector, and it is part of the African Development Bank (AFDB) flagship initiative, Facility for Energy Inclusion.
This deal comes at a time of significant growth for Bboxx, as this year it celebrates its 10th year in business and reached a milestone of transforming over one million lives through access to energy.
Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and Co-Founder of Bboxx, commented: “Building on our productive relationship with FEI OGEF and Lion’s Head Global Partners highlights investor confidence in our business model. It is a positive step in the right direction in securing more funds to help tackle the global energy access gap and make progress towards meeting UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 – energy for all.
“We have substantial operations and a proven track record in the DRC, having signed an important MoU with the DRC government at the beginning of the year. As we embark on the next phase of our ambitious growth journey, we look forward to putting these funds to good use by helping to transform even more lives and unlock potential through access to clean energy.”
Harry Guinness, Managing Director at Lion’s Head and OGEF Fund Manager, added: “The OGEF team remains impressed with Bboxx’s mission, technology and scale – and we are excited to expand our role in their growth in challenging markets by boosting operations in the DRC. This transaction was a real team effort – owing thanks to partners at the World Bank and local funders – and the collaboration and effort underscores OGEF’s commitment to increase debt financing in Africa.
“We look forward to continuing to contribute to Bboxx’s substantial achievements in expanding access to clean energy through much-needed scalable capital. This transaction sets another standard and we’re driven to adapt, learn and replicate it with borrowers in the sector across Africa.”
Bboxx is a next generation utility, transforming lives and unlocking potential through access to energy. Bboxx manufactures, distributes and finances decentralised solar powered systems in developing countries. It is scaling through forging strategic partnerships and its innovative technology Bboxx Pulse®, a comprehensive management platform using IoT technology. Through affordable, reliable, and clean utility provision, Bboxx is bringing people into the digital economy, creating new markets, and enabling economic development in off-grid communities and those living without a reliable grid connection. The company is positively impacting the lives of more than one million people with its products and services in over 35 markets, directly contributing to 11 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
So far, Bboxx has deployed more than 350,000 solar home systems. Bboxx has over 800 staff across nine offices including in Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Togo, with its head office in the UK and its manufacturing operations in China. In 2019, Bboxx was the winner of the Zayed Sustainability Prize in the Energy category – testament to the way the company is making a meaningful difference to people’s lives around the world.
About FEI OGEF
FEI OGEF (www.ogefafrica.com) is a debt fund managed by LHGP Asset Management and part of the AFDB’s Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI) which was launched to increase energy access across Africa. FEI OGEF received equity funding from the AFDB, NDF, KfW, the European Commission’s blended finance facility, the Global Environment Facility and All On, a not for profit set up to increase access to commercial energy products and services off-grid energy markets in Nigeria. FEI OGEF also received debt funding from the AFDB, All On, Calvert Impact Capital and the Prudential Insurance Company of America.
FEI OGEF was established to make power more affordable for low-income households by creating an efficient market-oriented and scalable transactions across Africa. The Fund focuses on lowering overall risks and costs for off-grid energy access companies by investing through tailored, flexible credit lines in foreign and local currencies to meet inventory, consumer finance and other working capital needs. FEI OGEF provides $2-$10m loans to companies in order to expand the role of local capital markets and ultimately increase access to reliable energy for households across the continent.
About Lion’s Head Group
Lion’s Head Group (www.lhgp.com) is a frontier market investment bank. Its core activities include financial advisory, capital raising and asset management. LHGP Asset Management (LHGP AM), is the FCA regulated asset management arm of the group and the fund manager of FEI-OGEF with $500m assets under management across market development (www.alcbfund.com) and energy infrastructure (www.feiafrica.com).