Earlier today the Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka hosted a launch to mark the start of operations of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia.
Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia is an ambitious undertaking to bring clean energy access to Zambian households and accelerate private-sector growth in energy generation and distribution in the country. BGFZ, aims to bring affordable and high quality renewable energy services and technologies to consumers in Zambia. It also aims to promote new foreign investment, income growth, job creation, financial inclusion and market growth in Zambia. Five companies have been awarded. Companies that offer high-quality, affordable, renewable energy to consumers. The Beyond Grid Fund is an initiative of the Government of Sweden, together with Power Africa and in cooperation with Zambian partners. The Fund is managed by the Renewable Energy and Efficiency Partnership (REEEP)
Ambassador Henrik Cederin held a speech on the occasion - below is what he said:
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to this launch, to mark the start of operations of the Beyond the Grid Fund Zambia. Many of you have heard about the Fund before, as our preparations started about two years ago, but now it is in full operation and the first five companies have been awarded. The Fund is a Swedish initiative and part of the Power Africa partnership launched by the US. It is an innovative market-based undertaking to bring affordable and high quality renewable energy access to rural Zambia and accelerate private-sector growth in energy generation and distribution.
Energy services have been central to the cooperation between Zambia and Sweden, as part of efforts to contribute to conditions for sustainable growth in Zambia. Electricity is a key factor for increasing poor people´s opportunities to support themselves by obtaining work and starting and running productive businesses. And the health and environmental benefits of replacing kerosene, wood fuel and charcoal are tremendous. We are happy that our energy cooperation now is extending to the off-grid energy sector, and that it is bringing in private sector actors and investors. We have set our target high - the fund intends to deliver access to clean energy to one million Zambians until 2021.This target may even be exceeded, given the forecasts from the awarded companies.
We have a full morning ahead of us.
We will hear more about the Power Africa initiative and international partnership (from the US Ambassador)
And our guest of honour, the Minister of Energy will present how the Fund fits into the Governments´ vision for electrification of Zambia. We will learn (from the Ministry of Energy Acting Director) how access to energy is prioritised in the 7th National Development Plan and on how the government will reach out to the ninety-five percent of rural Zambians currently without access to the grid. We will hear more on the important work of the Department of Energy, the Rural Electrification Agency REA, and the Energy Regulatory Board ERB, and we are very grateful for the valuable support, interaction and cooperation with these agencies related to the Beyond the Grid Fund.
We will hear from REEEP and the Beyond the Grid team on how the Fund is designed to contribute to the Government of Zambia’s rural energy access goals through an innovative public partnership approach.
And not least, we will meet the five awarded companies. The companies have been selected by the Embassy in a competitive process, where they have undertaken to provide best value for money. They are here in Zambia investing in the energy sector and delivering clean and affordable energy services. They are here today to show us how they will roll out their businesses and deliver electricity service subscriptions to Zambian households and businesses, through solar home systems and mini-grids.
Once again, warmly welcome!