British International Investment

Virunga

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.

CDC’s investment will support the development of the electricity grid and the construction of two new plants, resulting in almost 30 megawatts (MW) of new generation.

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

Our investment

Description of the investment.

We invested in Virunga Energy, through the Impact Accelerator.

Our loan was the first commercial capital for the project, which until that time had received only grant funding.

Expected impact

Expected impact of investments made between 2012 and 2018. From 2019 onwards, we have published a fuller set of impact information, assessing each investment against six dimensions of impact.

North Kivu suffers from a chronic lack of electricity: its 3 per cent electrification rate compares to 17 per cent nationally. Local industry runs on expensive diesel, or on charcoal that is made from trees illegally felled inside the park (providing a major source of income for armed groups).

Reliable electricity supply from Virunga is expected to boost business activity to provide sustainable livelihoods. In turn, it is hoped that this will provide an attractive alternative for at-risk youth through skills development and employment opportunities. This was the first concession agreement under the liberalised energy law introduced in 2014 (CDC funded legal support to Virunga for this process).

By the end of 2017, over 4,000 customers had been connected to Virunga’s grid, including households, small to medium-sized enterprises and social infrastructure.

New businesses are being formed and several customers have moved their operations to access Virunga’s power. Public lighting has been provided for the first time in villages close to one of Virunga’s plants, increasing safety.

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.

    :
    D306
    Status

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

    :
    Active
    Region

    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
    Country

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

    :
    Democratic Republic of Congo
    Sector

    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.

    :
    Infrastructure

    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 :
    Debt
    Start date :
    March 2016
    Amount :
    $9m
    Currency of investment :
    USD
    Domicile

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    :
    Republic of Congo

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