DRC – InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), has signed an agreement with Equatorial Power (EP), committing US$1.7 million to scale the company’s innovative mini-grid model in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.

The project will see the companies co-develop four new mini-grids and four agri-processing hubs (APHs) on Idjwi Island, DRC, followed by a further four solar mini-grids and three APHs in south-east Rwanda.

This will provide smaller businesses with access to electricity, creating jobs directly and through the local supply chain, supporting SDG 8. Ranging in size from 60kW to 85kW, the new mini-grids will incorporate battery storage to manage fluctuating sunshine during the countries’ rainy seasons.

It is anticipated that the project will deliver circa. 3,330 connections to low-income consumers in DRC and 2,500 in Rwanda, providing over 35,000 people with clean energy access by 2023 supporting SDG 7 and SDG 13.

Equatorial Power is a de-centralised energy infrastructure company, which goes beyond electrons to deliver sustainable energy services to enable community growth.

EP owns and operates agri-processing hubs (APHs), offering local communities access to services such as water purification, cold storage, fish drying and maize milling, creating an anchor load for the mini-grid whilst closing gaps in local value chains and promoting economic development.

EP also offers Business Incubation Programmes designed to foster productive use of clean energy through appliance financing and skills training.

“InfraCo Africa has a strong track record of delivering mini-grid projects in sub-Saharan Africa and we are pleased to bring our expertise to Rwanda and DRC, both of which are new countries for us to invest in,” InfraCo Africa’s Head of Business Development, Nabil Saimi, said.

“We are committed to delivering access to clean power and are excited to support EP’s innovative approach to coupling power access with agri-processing and other vital stimuli for employment and economic development.”

InfraCo Africa has leveraged a US$1.35 million capital grant from its sister company, PIDG Technical Assistance (PIDG TA), to support the project, and the World Bank has committed US$1.054 million of grant funding for the rollout in the DRC.

“We are happy to have the right partner to accompany us on our journey to go beyond electrons and offer modern and sustainable rural infrastructure services to the people of DRC and Rwanda,” Equatorial Power’s Head of Business Development, Dario Fallara, said.

Liked this article? Subscribe to DealStreet Africa News, our regular email newsletter with the latest news, deals, and insights from Africa’s businesseconomy, and more. SUBSCRIBE HERE