An investment of €19 million ($20.5 million) in electricity access provider WeLight is being made possible by the European Investment Bank (EIB), Triodos Investment Management, a Dutch investment fund manager, and the European Union’s (EU) Electrification Financing Initiative (EDFI).
The money will go toward a WeLight-sponsored, €28 million electrification project.
The Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, Sagemcom of France, and Tananarive-based Axian Group joined together to create the company in Madagascar (NORFUND). These current WeLight shareholders will contribute €9 million to the project. 120 communities are expected to be powered by solar mini-grids.
A small solar power plant that is connected to a distribution network makes up the WeLight mini-grid. 45,000 homes and businesses will receive electricity from these mini-grids; they will be charged.
“This new initiative will considerably enhance Madagascar’s rural electricity. According to Romain de Villeneuve, managing director of WeLight Madagascar, it will also benefit hundreds of thousands of people, greatly raising the standard of living, the local economy, and the general wellbeing of the populace.
The company estimates that their electrical project will benefit 250,000 people. The Agency for Rural Electrification Development and the Ministry of Energy of Madagascar are providing support for the project (ADER). 40 solar-powered mini-grids have already been installed by WeLight in eight different places throughout Madagascar.
The EIB, EDFI ElectriFi, and Triodos Investment Management-funded project will enable the business to grow into four new locations.
According to Isabelle Delattre Burger, the EU’s ambassador to Madagascar, “access to affordable and clean energy for everybody is a key sustainable development aim and contributes to the green and just transition supported by the EU’s Global Gateway strategy.”
The World Bank estimates that only 33% of the island is electrified, making it one of the least electrified nations on the African continent.