BII and Shell Foundation pledge $245m for renewable energy start-ups in Africa and South Asia.

by Vincent Godstime

Energy InvestmentBritish International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution, and the Shell Foundation, a global charity, have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote the expansion of renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The MoU aims to provide financial support for startup companies focused on renewable energy efficiency in these regions.

The partnership between the two global institutions will offer investment solutions to overcome financial obstacles faced by early and mid-stage businesses operating in sectors that align with their strategic priorities and objectives. The financial facility will not be limited to distributed renewable energy and agri-tech sectors, but will also support cross-cutting solutions in climate projects and gender inclusion.

Globally, around 773 million people lack access to electricity, with the majority of them residing in African and South Asian countries. To achieve Africa’s energy and climate objectives, an annual investment of $190 billion is required from 2026 to 2030, with two-thirds of this funding dedicated to renewable energy. Similarly, South Asia requires around $410 billion by 2030 to achieve its renewable energy potential.

To promote the expansion of clean energy in Africa and South Asia and increase access to renewable energy, BII and Shell Foundation have pledged to invest $245 million by 2026. The funding will be directed towards private sector projects that promote high-impact sustainable and clean energy solutions in these regions. The financing facility will aim to support investments into renewable energy projects in the private sector that can have a positive impact on the environment while generating economic growth.

Jonathan Berman, the CEO of Shell Foundation, believes that millions of people in emerging countries will be able to earn a sustainable income by utilizing clean energy in the next decade. This partnership agreement with BII complements Shell’s co-funding partnership with FCDO, the sole shareholder of BII, providing them with an opportunity to offer capital at various risk appetites and growth stages.

Yasemin Saltuk Lamy, Managing Director and Head of Asset Allocation & Capital Solutions at BII, added that the partnership with Shell Foundation will assist emerging economies in their transition to and expansion of reliable, clean energy. This will facilitate resilient economic growth and narrow energy access gaps, aligning with the strategic priorities and objectives of both institutions.

BII and Shell Foundation have made a name for themselves in Africa in recent years with their commitment to clean energy. Last year, BII joined forces with Norfund and IPP Scatec to invest $200 million in Africa’s hydropower portfolio. Shell is funding decentralized renewable energy in Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) via the investment firm All On. Also, the foundation bought Nigerian C&I solar power company Daystar Power last year.

BII and Shell Foundation have established themselves as advocates for clean energy in Africa in recent years, with their commitment to financing sustainable projects in the region. In 2022, BII partnered with Norfund and IPP Scatec to invest $200 million in Africa’s hydropower portfolio, providing a significant boost to the region’s renewable energy sector. Meanwhile, Shell Foundation is financing decentralized renewable energy in Nigeria through the Electrification Project (NEP) via the investment firm All On. Additionally, the foundation acquired Nigerian C&I solar power company Daystar Power in 2022. These initiatives demonstrate the institutions’ commitment to sustainable and clean energy projects in Africa, and their efforts to increase access to energy across the continent.

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