IFC, FMO invest in PAYG company to deliver decentralised solar to East Africa

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The investment will help Mobisol to expand its existing reach for home solar systems as well as expand into new territories. Source: Mobisol

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and FMO, the Dutch development bank have invested a collective US$15.52 million (€14.62 million) in Mobisol, a German pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar service company, in order to deliver renewable energy solutions to off-grid communities in East Africa.

The equity investment is split between €5.42 million from the IFC and €9.2 million from Dutch government funds managed by the FMO and is filtered into Investec Asset Mangement’s African Private Equity Fund and DEG, which has already invested in Mobisol.

Mobisol designs home solar PV systems as a competitive and safe alternative to expensive fossil fuels in the form of kerosene and diesel. Systems are paid off by customers over three years using mobile money transfers. The new IFC/FMO funds will enable the company to accelerate its growth in existing markets in Rwanda and Tanzania – where it has already installed more than 67,000 systems – and will aid its expansion into Kenya.

“Our partnership with IFC and FMO, alongside Investec Asset Management marks an important milestone in the growth history of Mobisol. We are excited by the value such a reputable list of global investors stand to bring to Mobisol. We can now concentrate on scaling and even better serving our customers,” said Thomas Gottschalk, founder and CEO of Mobisol in a statement.

“IFC’s investment in Mobisol reflects our commitment to bridging the infrastructure gap and to mitigating climate change by delivering reliable, clean and affordable alternatives to fossil fuels for lower income households in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Oumar Seydi, IFC director for East and Southern Africa. “Our partnership with Investec Asset Management, FMO and DEG will help deliver the Mobisol solar home systems to other parts of Africa.”

“The funds made available through the Access to Energy Fund (AEF) and MASSIF will support sustainable energy solutions and steady access to energy for low-income households. This will eventually boost economic development, which fits FMO’s main inspiration to manage these funds on behalf of the Dutch Government”, also commented Linda Broekhuizen, chief investment officer at FMO.

This latest investment is just one of many ventures into climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa that the IFC has made, following its work with Scaling Solar in Senegal and Zambia. The investment builds on its work to support the development of off-grid solar through its Lighting Global programme, of which Mobisol is an associate; receiving advice on how to put out quality products, market effectively and expand its reach. 

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