- KawiSafi Ventures has raised US70 million to back companies delivering affordable and renewable energy to mostly poor consumers in East Africa.
- The fund is an initiative of Jacqueline Novogratz’s impact investing group, Acumen Capital Partners.
Acumen is a non-profit that invests philanthropic capital in companies and leaders tackling poverty. After investing US22 million of patient, philanthropic capital across the off-grid ecosystem and impacting 81 million lives, Acumen saw an opportunity to drive energy access for millions of low-income people in East Africa and scale the clean energy sector.
In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 600 million people currently live without electricity and spend US17 billion a year on dirty, inefficient energy. KawiSafi aims to deliver clean, affordable energy to 10 million people, at least half of whom live in poverty, and displace more than one million tons of carbon dioxide in the next 10 years, to address energy poverty and help avert the current climate crisis. To date, KawiSafi has invested $21 million to impact 4.3 million people and avert 360 thousand tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
“Acumen’s investing experience has shown us that Africa has a unique opportunity to solve its energy problem,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of Acumen. “We created KawiSafi to prove that renewable, off-grid energy can be a faster, cheaper and cleaner way to electrify the continent. By building scalable solutions that can bring power to low-income communities that have lived without electricity for too long, we can create a seismic shift in off-grid energy, releasing immense levels of human productivity and minimizing impact on the environment. Given that Africa’s population is expected to nearly double by 2030, a clean energy strategy is good not just for the continent but for everyone.”
KawiSafi has raised US 70 million to catalyse companies that deliver clean, affordable renewable energy to low-income consumers and businesses quickly climbing the energy ladder. The fund maintains Acumen’s values and impact-focused approach to investing but aims to deliver market-competitive returns by making larger, more significant investments in high-growth companies with proven business models.
Some of KawiSafi’s early supporters include anchor investor the Green Climate Fund along with Steve Jurvetson, Chris Anderson and the Skoll Foundation. Acumen, as sponsor, holds an equity interest in the fund.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal