British International Investment

Energy Access Relief Fund B.V


Our investment

Description of the investment.

The Energy Access Relief Fund will provide relief capital in the form of short-term loans to an estimated 90 energy access companies in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, still struggling with disruptions from COVID-19.

Impact information

Applies to investments made from 2019 onwards. The tabs in this section define what we expect to achieve through the investment, assessing the potential impact of the investment against six dimensions of impact. You can find more details on our methodology of assessing impact here.


  • Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men (SDG 8.5).



Provide short-term liquidity to enable up to 90 primarily small and medium-sized energy access companies to remain solvent for the loan duration. As the sector is nascent and still largely pre-profit, without emergency funding a large proportion of otherwise financially and operationally-sound firms are at risk of insolvency due to prolonged COVID-19 related liquidity challenges.


Stakeholder Geography Characteristics

Pan-Africa and Asia

Primarily sales and distribution, installation and maintenance, and call-centre agents. Over half of in-country employees in the sector reside in rural areas, 61 per cent are lower-skilled workers and 27 per cent are women.


Pan-Africa and Asia

Predominantly rural and low-income, with 41 per cent of solar home system customers and 51 per cent of mini-grid customers living below $3.20 per day. 35 per cent of customers are female. The main sources of income for energy access customers are self-employment in agriculture and other informal jobs.

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration

We expect the fund will help to safeguard energy access for up to 3.3 million households and up to 12,400 full-time equivalent in-country jobs in recipient companies over the loan duration.

Depth: Surveys indicate that 61 per cent of solar home system customers and 54 per cent of mini-grid customers report significant quality of life improvements because of improved energy access. 7 per cent and 26 per cent of solar home system and mini-grid customers respectively, also report using their energy access for productive use, resulting in potential time saving and/or income generation.



Financial additionality: High financial additionality due to high uncertainty and limited risk appetite among commercial investors for both the sector and market. We have taken a leadership role in the fund's development, including defining strategy, underwriting criteria, governance framework and driving fundraising.


External Risk

Relates to the risk that this funding is insufficient to meet the severity and/or duration of liquidity challenges experienced by recipient companies, and so fails to prevent insolvencies and ensuing job losses and loss of energy access for customers. Correlates with commercial risk and partially mitigated by eligibility criteria to screen out businesses that were already in financial stress pre-COVID-19 pandemic and/or are less well-established.

Alignment Risk

Relates to the risk that recipient companies do not use proceeds as intended to cover local operating costs and staff expenses, e.g. instead using funds to bail out or subsidise existing investors or lenders. Correlated with commercial risk and mitigated by covenants restricting use of proceeds to local operating and staff costs.

Unexpected Impact Risk

Relates to the risk that recipient companies do not take adequate measures to protect poor and vulnerable consumers and therefore have unintended adverse impacts on customers’ wellbeing. This is mitigated by companies being required to commit to the GOGLA Consumer Protection Code, and report on consumer protection practices at the application stage and bi-annually thereafter to be eligible for funding.

Environmental and social information

  • Environmental and social summary

    A high-level description of the environmental and social aspects of the investment. This may include a summary of key environmental and social risks identified during environmental and social due diligence (ESDD); key elements of an environmental and social action plan (ESAP); or ways in which we plan to support the investee improve environmental and social standards, such as through their environmental and social management system (ESMS); as well as any other priority areas agreed with the investee.

  • Environmental and social risk

    A risk category rating, which indicates the level of environmental and social risk associated with an investment. For an explanation of the categorisations used, see here. We consistently provide an environmental and social risk category for all investments screened from 2023 onwards.

Environmental and social summary

The fund manager has a strong approach to environmental and social management and we will continue to support and monitor its approach as the portfolio grows.

Environmental and social risk


Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    June 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.


    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).


    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.

    Africa, Asia

    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.


    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Amount :
    Currency of investment :

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    Climate finance

    Indicates whether the investment is climate finance qualified or partially climate finance qualified and the type of climate finance (adaptation, mitigation or both). We define climate finance using the multilateral development bank (MDB) and the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) Common Principles climate finance methodology. See Common Principles for Climate Mitigation Finance Tracking and Common Principles for Climate Change Adaptation Finance Tracking. We provide the climate finance qualification and type for commitments from 2020 onwards, which is when we launched our Climate Change Strategy.

    Partially qualified
    Climate finance type:

Subscribe to receive our latest news and updates