The loan will accelerate Bboxx's operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) across Kivu, Ituri and Tshopo provinces with ambitions to expand further in the country. Currently, only around 19% of the DRC population has access to electricity, and for those that do have access, electricity can be unreliable1.
The DRC is already a core market for Bboxx, which manufactures, distributes and finances decentralized solar powered systems in developing countries. The company has positively impacted many lives through access to clean, reliable and affordable energy - and this new funding will provide the opportunity to further increase Bboxx's impact in the DRC. Earlier this year, Bboxx announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the DRC Government, with the aim of bringing clean energy to 10 million citizens, equivalent to 10% of the population.
This debt financing from FEI OGEF builds on the Fund's $8 million loan made in May 2019 to accelerate Bboxx's energy access plans in Rwanda. FEI OGEF is a $100 million blended finance debt fund that provides predominantly secured financing to support the growth of innovative companies in the off-grid energy sector, and it is part of the African Development Bank (AFDB) flagship initiative, Facility for Energy Inclusion.
This deal comes at a time of significant growth for Bboxx, as this year it celebrates its 10th year in business and reached a milestone of transforming over one million lives through access to energy.
Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and Co-Founder of Bboxx, commented, "Building on our productive relationship with FEI OGEF and Lion's Head Global Partners highlights investor confidence in our business model. It is a positive step in the right direction in securing more funds to help tackle the global energy access gap and make progress towards meeting UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 - energy for all.
"We have substantial operations and a proven track record in the DRC, having signed an important MoU with the DRC government at the beginning of the year. As we embark on the next phase of our ambitious growth journey, we look forward to putting these funds to good use by helping to transform even more lives and unlock potential through access to clean energy."
Harry Guinness, Managing Director at Lion's Head and OGEF Fund Manager, added, "The OGEF team remains impressed with Bboxx's mission, technology and scale - and we are excited to expand our role in their growth in challenging markets by boosting operations in the DRC. This transaction was a real team effort - owing thanks to partners at the World Bank and local funders - and the collaboration and effort underscores OGEF's commitment to increase debt financing in Africa.
"We look forward to continuing to contribute to Bboxx's substantial achievements in expanding access to clean energy through much-needed scalable capital. This transaction sets another standard and we're driven to adapt, learn and replicate it with borrowers in the sector across Africa."