The REACT Kenya Relief Fund will provide emergency grants to distributed energy service companies who are struggling to maintain access to energy to their thousands of rural customers because of the unprecedented disruptions and challenges from operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2011, AECF has been supporting Kenyan businesses reach off-grid rural communities with low cost, clean energy products and services. By providing patient capital in the forms of grants and zero interest loans to a carefully selected portfolio of companies, AECF has been able to contribute to enhanced energy access for over 700,000 off-grid households, create thousands of new jobs and opportunities for young people, and improve incomes and health conditions for rural communities.
The Covid-19 pandemic threatens to reverse this valuable progress and increase energy poverty and inequality across Kenya. Supply chains and distribution networks have been restricted by lockdowns, curfews, and social distancing measures. Rural customers are struggling with steep decreases in income and cannot afford even micro-payments to access lighting for their homes. They risk losing the access to the energy and information services that they need to better sustain themselves during the pandemic.
The REACT Kenya Relief Fund is a USD2 million initiative that will award emergency grants to companies operating in Kenya that can demonstrate that (i) they are serving the energy needs of off-grid households in poor rural and peri-urban areas and (ii) they need financial support if they are to safeguard jobs and essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Funded by Sweden, and managed by AECF, support will be provided through disbursements of emergency grants (USD50,000 –USD200,000) to cover short-term working capital needs (3-12 months) and technical assistance for business continuity.
The specific objectives of the fund are to:
Provide relief to off-grid energy companies so that their employees, customers, and supply chains are not adversely affected by Covid-19 economic shocks;
Guarantee energy access as an essential service (lighting, cooking and productive use of power) during the COVID-19 emergency;
Provide targeted technical assistance to enable companies to develop solid strategies of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Understand the impacts that COVID-19 has had on low-income, off-grid households.