Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Conditions are right for off-grid electrification of Africa – Michael Gera, EAV

Mini-grids, mobile payments and smart meters are all helping to create an off-grid model of electricity provision in Africa, helped by bottom-up funding and low-cost solar power, according to Michael Gera, managing partner and co-founder of specialist venture capitalist firm Energy Access Ventures (EAV). EAV has received a EUR 10 million commitment from the European Investment Bank and recently made its first investment in a company called Off:Grid:Electric, based in Tanzania. There’s a lot of buzz around electrifying Africa at the moment. Why now? ‘People now see that there is a very strong correlation between economic activity and access to power. If you are living in darkness you have less wealth, you live in fear of going out at night, your children can’t study after the sun sets, your business has to shut down when it gets dark if it requires more than a kerosene lamp to operate. Access to electricity is the screaming need that underlies everything else.