VIDEO: In Kenya, a little over half the population is connected to electricity. Joyce Gema is the CEO of Boma Safi, a Kenyan social enterprise that is rethinking affordable, clean energy for rural households. USADF, in partnership with GE and Power Africa, has supported over 75 entrepreneurs like Joyce to boost energy access and improve livelihoods.

The Off-Grid Energy Challenge was launched in 2013 to bring affordable and renewable energy to rural communities across Africa. Since 2013, over $7 million has been invested in 75 energy entrepreneurs in 9 countries to provide off-grid energy solutions to rural communities.

Want to find out more about how USADF partners with corporations, like GE, to bring energy connectivity to rural communities in Africa? Download our brochure. 

Request for Proposals

USADF-Smart Communities Coalition Off-Grid Energy Challenge

The Smart Communities Coalition Off-Grid Energy Challenge is a Power Africa initiative involving the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the Smart Communities Coalition (SCC), with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and is designed to increase access to energy provided by African-owned enterprises (including African refugee-owned enterprises) for residents and businesses within the following target refugee settlements in Kenya and Uganda and their host communities:

  • Kenya: Kakuma and Kalobeyei Refugee Settlements and/or Turkana West District ONLY
  • Uganda: Bidibidi, Kiryandongo, and Rwamwanja Refugee Settlements and/or Yumbe, Kiryandongo, and Kamwenge Districts ONLY

Applicants MUST be companies, businesses, cooperatives, and other business entities that are operating in the above refugee resettlements and districts AND are 100% African-owned and managed.


General inquiries can be directed to and will not be accepted at other email addresses.


The application window is now closed. Winners are expected to be announced in August 2018.


What is the USADF Off-Grid Energy Challenge?

The Off-Grid Energy Challenge is led by the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) to develop, scale-up or extend the use of proven technologies for off-grid energy to reach communities not served by existing power grids. Through the Challenge, USADF and its partners, including All On, General Electric (GE), and Power Africa support energy entrepreneurs in 9 countries across the continent, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. To date, USADF has funded over 75 African energy entrepreneurs, totaling an investment of $7 million in off-grid energy solutions.

The Off-Grid Energy Challenge awards grants of up to $100,000 each to African enterprises providing off-grid solutions that deploy renewable resources and power local economic activities.  Challenge winners will have near-term solutions to power the needs of productive and commercial activities, including agriculture production and processing, off-farm businesses, and commercial enterprises.

What is Power Africa?

Power Africa is a broad U.S. Government initiative to drive growth by increasing access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable power and helping to ensure responsible, transparent and effective management of energy resources.  Working with public and private sector partners, this initiative will achieve these results:

  • Increasing electricity generation;

  • Increasing electricity access -- with a focus on both on-grid and off-grid or micro-grid solutions;

  • Increasing cross-border energy trade; and,

  • Ensuring responsible and transparent management of energy resources

USADF believes its greatest contribution to Power Africa is increasing energy access to underserved communities in the target countries and mobilizing capital for African energy entrepreneurs. We launched the Off-Grid Energy Challenge to promote innovative and sustainable ways to deliver reliable energy to underserved communities.