Press Releases

Press release: USADF and Nithio Partner to Enhance Access to Clean Energy in Kenya

Washington, D.C. – September 13, 2019 – The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and Nithio Holdings (Nithio) announce a new partnership to provide access to affordable and clean energy to households in Kenya. The partnership illustrates the commitment USADF and Nithio share to create opportunities for communities and energy suppliers in Africa, to scale the use of off-grid solar energy technology, and to support investors in the renewable energy market.

This opportunity places USADF and Nithio at the forefront of the “blended finance” movement in Africa, a concept that brings together private sector investments and public sector de-risking capital through investments that complement each other. The two partners will co-fund early-stage African energy companies, with USADF providing grant funding and Nithio providing loans. This three-year partnership will fund up to 15 off-grid solar energy operators in Kenya.

“USADF is proud to announce this innovative and impactful initiative with Nithio,” C.D. Glin, USADF President and CEO, stated. “Since the inception of our off-grid energy program, the demand for our support in the sector has increased dramatically, reflecting both the sizable need and opportunities to catalyze African innovators and help them realize renewable energy solutions across Africa. Our partnership with Nithio means we can maximize our investments in Kenya, increase energy access for both household and agricultural productive use, and importantly, contributes to the Government of Kenya’s Big Four Agenda, particularly its pillars on food security and light manufacturing.”

As part of its business model, Nithio provides unparalleled consumer credit intelligence that can unlock capital at scale and enable energy access for millions of people in Africa.

“This partnership with USADF is an opportunity to catalyze the sustainable growth of local Kenyan off-grid solar operators,” said Hela Cheikhrouhou, Co-Founder and CEO of Nithio. “With this support, local operators can now access a risk-intelligent financing solution that strengthens their portfolios and supports their long-term growth, allowing them to compete at a world-class level. We look forward to partnering with USADF on this exciting initiative to support household energy access in Kenya.”

The partnership will enable USADF to build on its successful energy investments in Kenya. Since 2014, USADF has provided grant funding and local project management assistance to 16 off-grid energy enterprises in Kenya, including Boma Safi, an energy distribution business that helps women become entrepreneurs, selling energy products in their rural towns through an order-and-delivery system; and Deevabits Green Energy, which provides solar home systems to customers on a pay-as-you-go basis, propelling families to switch from kerosene to the clean energy of solar while saving on energy costs. These energy investments are in addition to nearly 20 agribusinesses and seven youth entrepreneurs USADF is currently supporting in Kenya.

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About the United States African Development Foundation (USADF)
USADF is the U.S. Government’s independent African enterprise development agency. The agency invests in African grassroots and small- and medium-sized businesses; promotes local economic development; and creates pathways to prosperity for underserved communities. Utilizing a community-led development approach, USADF provides seed capital and local project management assistance to early-stage African enterprises and entrepreneurs addressing Africa’s biggest challenges around food insecurity, insufficient energy access, and unemployment, particularly among women and youth. Annually, USADF’s grant assistance generates approximately $100 million in new economic activity throughout 20 African countries.

Learn more at Communications contact: Jarvis Holliday,, 202-233-8856.

About Nithio
Nithio provides household-level risk analytics to unlock scalable household financing in Africa. The company uses its highly accurate geospatial credit scoring algorithms to offer financing and analytical insights for off-grid solar operators and their investors. Its predictive credit risk model is offered through a scalable, standardized platform. Nithio’s impact will support access to clean, modern energy for millions of households across the African continent.

Learn more at Communications contact: Robert Colvin,, 202-670-2050.

Download a PDF of this press release here.