50 African Entrepreneurs for Off-Grid Energy


For Immediate Release

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Julia L. Tanton
Telephone: +1 202-233-8811 | Email:
jlingham@usadf.gov | Twitter: @USADF

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) announces it has reached its goal of 50 grants awarded to African energy entrepreneurs. The Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge, now in its third year, has awarded $5.0 million to 50 African owned and managed energy companies across the continent. The Off-Grid Energy Challenge is part of Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative, which aims to drive private investment in off-grid and small-scale renewable energy solutions.

·         The Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge has selected 50 African-owned and managed energy entrepreneurs in nine African countries across the continent (Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) totaling $5 million dollars.

·         These renewable energy projects will utilize technologies such as solar home systems, solar and micro-hydro, mini-grids, solar cold storage systems, biogas for refrigeration and pasteurization and retailing of solar products through a mobile platform.  

·         Derrick Hosea, founder and CEO of OneLamp and winner in the latest round of funding for the Off-Grid Challenge in Uganda, said, “USADF values Africans and our enterprising spirit. They invest in Africa, by Africans – and that sets them apart from other development agencies. Nobody else is doing that.” He is one of three companies in Uganda awarded $100,000 in funding for his on-demand delivery service for clean energy. 

The U.S. African Development Foundation is the only federal agency dedicated entirely to Africa, and solely funding 100% African-owned businesses and African entrepreneurs.  USADF aims to promote innovative solutions that increase access to reliable, affordable and sustainable power – particularly for Africans who will have little to no access to grid power. USADF President, Shari Berenbach said, “By catalyzing African energy entrepreneurs with working capital and technical support, USADF seeks to ensure many of these populations will have access to more affordable, off grid and renewable energy.” These energy entrepreneurs are finding solutions to power the needs for rural communities including solar-powered mini-grids, home solar systems, and solar cold storage. The Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge, funded by USADF, GE Africa and USAID, promotes innovative solutions that increase access to reliable, affordable and sustainable power.


The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), a public corporation in the U.S. federal government, funds African-owned enterprises, cooperatives and community-based organizations to build capacity and expand economic activities.  In 19 countries with over 350 project grants, USADF is benefiting more than a million and a half Africans.  USADF operates as the only U.S. agency exclusively centered on an African-led, grassroots development model to create pathways to prosperity for underserved communities.  For more information, go to www.usadf.gov.


GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving, and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.

GE Africa, a subsidiary of General Electric, Inc., delivers innovative technology solutions for regional challenges to help its customers support growth throughout the continent.  In particular, GE Energy is providing a host of advanced solutions in water, oil & gas, and energy delivery technologies, with a focus on innovative localized energy solutions.


In 2013, President Obama launched Power Africa, an innovative partnership of private sector partners, African governments, public funders, and technical institutions to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 600 million people currently lack access. Two years after its launch, Power Africa has helped transactions expected to generate over 4,300 megawatts of new, cleaner power generation throughout sub-Saharan Africa reach financial close.



Please contact jlingham@usadf.gov for all USADF-related media inquiries.

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