Oikocredit invests 1 million in African Clean Energy to support clean cooking, rural electricity access
Social impact investor Oikocredit has made a € 1 million convertible loan to African Clean Energy, a Certified B Corporation and social enterprise, to support the expansion of business operations in Uganda.
ACE is one of the first operators to offer a pay-as-you-go enabled solar-biomass hybrid cooking stove, capable of charging mobile phones and providing light, whilst utilising between 50% and 85% less fuel when cooking. The product is affordable for even the poorest households, with repayment instalments below current household fuel expenditure. The “ACE 1 energy system” pairs thermal and electric generation by using a solar-charged battery to not only give users access to electricity, but also to power the ventilator needed to create clean biomass combustion.
The issues that ACE are trying to address are considerable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 3 billion people worldwide are cooking on open fires or with rudimentary stoves, using non-renewable and polluting fuels. This practice is harmful to health and contributes significantly to deforestation. The WHO says that over 4 million people die prematurely each year due to illnesses associated with household air pollution .
James Todd, Renewable Energy Investment Officer at Oikocredit, said: “We are delighted to be able to partner with ACE and help address the clean thermal energy needs of rural communities in Africa. Clean cooking is a sector that has received comparatively little attention and funding, despite the clear social and environmental impact of unsustainable fuel use. We are proud to be at the forefront of the industry, helping an innovative and ambitious social enterprise to leverage their expertise to scale up their pay-as-you-go enabled product offering in Uganda, and deliver tangible social impact”.
"We feel very privileged to have secured Oikocredit as a partner. With their knowledge and expertise across financial inclusion as well as renewable energy and in particular the clean cooking sector, we are sure we have found the right partner to assist us in scaling up our business to make clean energy accessible to more people,'' Ruben Walker, CEO & Founder, African Clean Energy.
Oikocredit has over 40 years’ experience funding organisations active in financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy. Oikocredit’s loans, equity investments and capacity building aim to enable people on low incomes in Africa, Asia and Latin America to sustainably improve their living standards. Oikocredit finances over 670 partners, with total outstanding capital of over € 1 billion as at 30 September 2019.