ENGIE partners with EIB to provide cheap electricity to entrepreneurs

UGANDA – ENGIE, a French multinational electric utility company, is set to provide reliable and cheap electricity to small holders and entrepreneurs in remote villages across Uganda for the first time under a new off-grid solar scheme.

ENGIE will do this through its Solar Home System company Fenix International and will partner with the European Investment Bank (EIB), one of the world’s largest financiers of renewable energy.

EIB has agreed to provide a US$12.5 million loan to support the deployment of 240,000 high-quality solar home systems in Uganda.

“Access to affordable and clean energy is important to fight poverty, create jobs and empower women and girls. The European Investment Bank is pleased to agree new support for scaling up off-grid solar deployment in East Africa under this new partnership with ENGIE,” said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President.

“Over a million people across Uganda will be able to access electricity for the first time that will power communications, provide light and make cooking easier. This scheme will also reduce use of kerosene, charcoal and candles to help families save money, reduce pollution and reduce the risk of accidents. Unlocking sustainable economic and social development through off-grid solar is key for Africa’s future and the EIB is pleased to back this project in Uganda.”

Solving the last mile challenge to provide power in remote communities across Uganda Only one in five Ugandans living in remote and rural communities has access to reliable electricity.

By scaling up adoption of off-grid solar technology this new initiative will provide economic, social, education and health opportunities for families and entrepreneurs who cannot be connected to the national electricity network.

Customers will also be able to benefit from Fenix International’s service centres that provide support in 30 languages across Uganda.

“At ENGIE, we see the massive potential of the off-grid electrification sector as a way to bridge energy gaps across Africa, faster and more affordably. Everyday families across Africa are able to access electricity for the first time using off-grid solar technology provided by ENGIE Africa,” said Yoven Moorooven, CEO of ENGIE Africa.

“Our new partnership with the European Investment Bank in Uganda will allow Fenix to provide ultra-affordable PAYGO systems to millions of people in villages across the country. This will provide access to clean solar power and financial empowerment.

“As of now, ENGIE is providing decentralized electricity to more than 4.5 million people in 9 countries through solar home systems from both Fenix and ENGIE Mobisol, as well as mini-grids from ENGIE PowerCorner.”

Following the new agreement entrepreneurs and small holders across Uganda will be able to access electricity for mobile phones, solar lighting, refrigeration, radio and television. This will help farmers to sell produce, create new markets for traders and improve health.

Increased provision of reliable and affordable energy will create new opportunities for women and girls and reduce exposure to indoor pollution from current kerosene use.

“The European Union is committed to supporting sustainable economic and social development across Uganda. This new cooperation initiative between the European Investment Bank and Fenix International, a subsidiary of leading European energy company ENGIE, demonstrates the value-added of European engagement with Ugandan partners to advance the country’s development vision,” said Attilio Pacifici, European Union Ambassador to Uganda.

Provision of a PAYGO model will allow families who would be unable to afford the upfront costs of solar home systems to repay the cost of equipment over years at less than US$20 cents a day.

The new European Investment Bank financing will also allow repayment of equipment purchased in US dollars in Ugandan shillings. Previously currency fluctuations hindered provision of affordable clean energy solutions to Ugandans without access to foreign currency.

“Providing hundreds of thousands of new solar home systems through the PAYGO model will allow our Ugandan team to transform communities across the country,” said Daniel Willette, Managing Director Uganda (Fenix).

“We are proud to be the latest national off- grid power operation to be supported by the European Investment Bank and we will work tirelessly to illuminate homes and provide clean power until all of Uganda can access electricity.”

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