The Universal Energy Facility (UEF), a multi-donor results-based finance (RBF) facility, has announced December 9, as the deadline for mini grid projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC]

UEF provides incentive payments (i.e., grants) on a ‘results-based’ approach to eligible organizations that develop and operate mini-grid systems and provide verified electricity connections in selected countries.
The facility is established to significantly speed up and scale up energy access across Sub-Saharan Africa, in line with SDG7 and the Paris Agreement.

Mini-grids provide quick and efficient means of connecting millions of households and businesses to clean, affordable and reliable electricity in hard-to-reach communities.

The objectives of the UEF mini-grids programme across Africa include: Accelerate access to electricity for households, businesses and other productive uses across high-impact countries.

They are also supposed to unlock commercial capital for investment to scale mini-grids development. The mini grids also support the viability of mini-grid projects by bridging the affordability gap for customers
The UEF was launched in 2020 focusing on mini-grids deployment in Benin, Madagascar and Sierra Leone.

This wave (Wave 1) is expected to deliver almost 14,000 electricity connections across the three countries, with more than USD 8 million in funding secured throughout 2020 and 2021, with an expected leverage of USD 20 million in debt and equity flowing to the incentivized mini-grids projects.

Wave 2 of the mini-grids programme launched 27 September 2022 focused on supporting mini-grid projects in Madagascar and Sierra Leone. The deadline for the Wave 2 closed on November 8
Interested applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria: Must be a for-profit company legally registered with established business operations in the project host country with relevant business/trading license

All applicants must own and operate at least one existing operational mini-grid that meets technical standards as specified in the UEF mini-grid operating manual.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient available financial resources to develop, construct, commission, and operate all mini-grid projects that they propose to the UEF.

Applicants must provide evidence of compliance with financial reporting requirements, including audited financial accounts for the preceding two (2) financial years and most recent tax return, or tax compliance certificate no older than twelve (12) months.

Applications must comply with UEF technical standards, environmental and social management systems, and gender mainstreaming. The UEF disburses grant payments to approved mini-grid projects based on a results-based incentive of USD 592 per electricity connection.

The grant disbursement is made once the UEF programme manager verifies deployments and connections, and final approval is granted by the UEF. Grantees are required to comply with the UEF quality and service standards requirements and provide support to the UEF in remote verification process as well as arranging verification visits by the independent verification agents.

The UEF’s administrative processes take place through a secure, web-based IT platform (the “UEF Platform”) that enables transparent application processing, project monitoring, remote connection verification and data aggregation.

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