British International Investment

Virunga Energies S.A.U

Central AfricaInfrastructure

Virunga Energy is a hydro-electric power business in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), backed by the UK charity, Virunga Foundation. It provides clean electricity to communities living in and around Virunga National Park in North Kivu, Eastern Congo.

This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.

Our investment

Description of the investment.

Since our first investment in 2016 the company has expanded its network and ventured into the city of Goma connecting over 19,000 customers. Our follow-on investment intends to reach an additional 10-12,000 customers, including households, businesses and social infrastructure such as hospitals.

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.


  • Improve access to energy and living standards for end consumers through the provision of modern and clean energy infrastructure (SDG 7.1, 7.2)
  • Create economic opportunities through firm growth (SDG 8.5)
  • Avoid/reduce greenhouse gas emissions (SDG 13A).


Primary Secondary

Economic enabler: Increasing the supply of reliable and affordable electricity to households and public institutions will help to improve quality of life for end consumers. It will also help firms to increase their productivity, leading to economic growth and job creation.

Catalytic: Our investment demonstrates the bankability for sizeable greenfield utilities in Africa.


Stakeholder Geography Characteristics

Goma, Rutshuru, Butembo, Mutwanga, Kimbulu, Musinenene, Lubero – DRC.

Very low income - rural households with average consumption below $1.90/person/day in Musienene, Kimbulu and Lubero, and below $3.20/person/day in Goma.

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration

Our follow-on investment is expected to enable the business to provide reliable and affordable power to an additional 10-12,000 connections.

The investment is expected to be significantly deep due to the expensive and unreliable access to electricity and high levels of poverty in the towns. The depth will be higher for households that consume the most electricity.


  • Financial additionality: Capital is not available from commercial lenders for transmission and distribution in DRC. There is a severe lack of private sector capital allocated towards DRC as well as transmission and distribution.


Execution Risk
  • if Execution is impacted, There is a risk the projects will not have the demonstration effect sought and the model will not be replicable. This risk will need to be tolerated Given the importance of the demonstration effect to the impact case.
Stakeholder Participation Risk
  • Stakeholder: although demand assessments have been carried out, There is still a risk that households may not be able to afford the services provided, impacting both their ability to consume power and the sustainability of the projects.

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.

    Central Africa

    The countries where the investment delivers impact. Where impact is delivered in multiple countries, this is indicated.

    Democratic Republic of Congo

    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 :
    Start date :
    December 2021
    Amount :
    Currency of investment :

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    Republic of Congo
    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.

    Fully qualified
    Climate finance type:

Subscribe to receive our latest news and updates