Social Impact Investing Creates Value

Impact investing can mean a diverse range of investments, ranging from housing development in the US, to renewable energy in BRIC countries, and agricultural cooperatives in Africa. Investment can be crowded fund or private equity.  The table below shows the spectrum of different impact investment business models and traditional investments.

Impact investment

Social impact investing is not a new trend; it has been around for several decades through philanthropic investments, in areas like community and social development, infrastructure and gender equality. However, a fairly new type of bond to finance social wellness is the Social Impact Bond, which the Social Finance UK describes as a “public-private partnership which funds effective social services through a performance-based contract.” Unlike social impact bonds, however, social impact investing is a large field that include any social benefit from the underlying business model. The combination of social impact investing and bonds is the new form of business model that is emerging in many developing countries around the world. The HBR wrote several articles about how social entrepreneurs are typically held back by traditional financing processes and structures, but in new markets where risk and opportunity are intertwined, innovative business models are capable of driving new areas of returns for investors with an open mind. This is currently the case with green bonds and has been with impact bonds.

Impact Investing in Different Markets

In the world if impact investing, The impact sector is growing, in a study conducted by the Global Impact Investment network, respondents in impact investing reported they grew their impact assets from USD 25.4 billion to 35.5 billion from 2013 to 2015. The report, found here, shows many trends in the sector by respondent types and tracks the growth of the sector. Some American examples include Goldman Sachs’ investments in community and urban development across the US including New Orleans , Chicago, and NYC.

While globally, Africa is seeing many similar impact investments. One being The Just Shea Program , a program that helps women shea harvesters of Ghana with several areas from providing safety gear that can be repaid through harvest shea nuts, to providing equipment to protect form poisonous snakes, and finally and importantly for economic reasons,  the creation of cooperative silos to increase the price per kilo paid to the harvesters.

In Africa, one of the value creation tools that African private equity can contribute to social impact businesses is the ability to bring their portfolio companies up to above-market standards of compliance and transparency, which in turn raises their value at exit. Investors can also help influence the political climate by investing in areas with strong legal standards and compliance thus creating reasons for government to create more favorable investment climates.

It seems that while impact investing may be difficult for traditional investment, there is a space in portfolios for this type of model, and as data emerges on the results, the potential for ROI is very viable as well as the potential to create positive socially responsible returns.

What are the Costs of Energy – Costs and Trade-offs for Renewable

The topic of renewable energy costs is a hotly contested topic that touches on many politically sensitive areas. Over the years what has become clear however is that it is not a simple answer as to what is the best alternative for energy product.

There are country specific strategies and policies effecting every source of energy production. It is obvious however that the trend of renewable energy production is on a massive rise and this is set to continue.

“Renewable energy is a key component for energy access in developing areas as it offers a long term sustainable and currency-neutral supply. In African and global markets, we are seeing increased interest in this work and we will continue working with development agencies and institutions as well as investors as a part of a commitment to be socially impactful in our investment strategy.”

Sidney Yankson , Partner, GCP

Global

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that 2014 saw a record 95 GW of new wind and solar projects, and forecasts that it will account for 25% of power generation in 2018, a figure that’s up from 20 percent in 2011. Among other startling predictions were the following:

  • 72% of the over $10 trillion forecasted dollars spent on new power generation worldwide to 2040 will be invested in new wind and solar PV plants.
  • Solar is price comparable to coal in Germany, Australia, the U.S., Spain and Italy.
  • By 2040, the levelized cost is set to drop up over 60%, and as soon as 2021, it will be cheaper than coal in China, India, Mexico, the U.K. and Brazil.

In most countries, renewables must be supplemented by a basic supply of oil and gas. As gas becomes more plentiful and available, industry analysts posit that gas will be one of the flexible technologies needed to help meet peaks, and provide system stability of non-depletable energy sources.

What may contribute to this trend are the quickly declining installed costs for solar PV, as shown in the table below:

USA

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the University of Texas, from 2010 through 2013, US federal renewable energy subsidies increased by 54%, from $8.6 billion to $13.2 billion, despite the fact that total federal energy subsidies declined by 23%, from $38 billion to $29 billion. The sponsoring government’s agenda of energy independence and renewable promotion has been effective in creating long-term industry investments.

 

Germany

In Germany and in much of Europe, the government has long subsidized and promoted renewable energy. German renewable energy based electricity generation almost reached the 30% mark in 2016.

Africa

Africa is seeing a huge influx of solar and renewable projects due mainly to two related factors: need and economics. As foreign oil and gas supply costs are related to currency values, many countries face pricing issues. While the current oil prices are beneficial in that regard, the need for a sustainable infrastructure is present, so as economies in Eastern and Southern Africa rebound, many nations have subsidized the development of many projects through foreign and local investment to that end. Thus the levelized cost lower due to subsidies and low interest project debt.

Asia Pacific

In many countries, solar power is a lower cost alternative and is also heavily subsidized by the government in their purchase agreements. Thus, this region may have typically lower than average total costs. China and India lead the way with overall investment not only in the region but among many developed and BRIC nations in solar/renewable energy.

Subsidies, or Technology?

Logically speaking the cost of any energy project is directly related to not only the existing technology costs, but also macro policies and subsidies from governments. As both are changing the shift in new energy projects is making itself clear. Utility-scale batteries are now capable of competing with natural gas in terms of availability and flexibility to provide surplus generation for peak demand. When added to small micro grids, EIA estimates that by 2040 renewables will reach 74% penetration in Germany, 38% in the U.S., 55% in China and 49% in India.

As for subsidies, fossil-fuel consumption subsidies dropped in 2015 to $325 billion, from $500 billion This reflect both lower fossil-fuel prices as well as a subsidy reform process that has gathered momentum in several countries as they look at new strategies for long term infrastructure.

Investment Trade-Offs

Its clear that renewable energy will not completely replace fossil fuel as it alone can’t meet the baseload generation needs anytime soon. However, an optimal solution is to use a combined approach of both traditional and renewable, and most governments are shifting their subsidy policies accordingly.

CO2 Emissions are another major plus for solar, not only do solar production facilities produce relatively lower environmental maladies than coal and gas production, but with no emissions in the burning operations process, this can make a major impact.

New job creation from solar and renewable is projected to add net new jobs to the economy. Rising automation in extraction, overcapacity, industry consolidation, regional shifts, and the substitution of coal by natural gas in the power sector are resulting in minor job losses in regions. Globally, the renewable energy sector employed 9.8 million people in 2016 – a 1.1% increase over 2015. In 2016, jobs in renewables, excluding big hydro, increased 2.8% to  8.3 million. This is a replacement of labor force to some extent, as well as net new jobs in many countries.

 

SOURCES:

https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-analysis-100/

http://www.ren21.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/GSR_2016_Full_Report.pdf

https://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/IRENA_RE_Jobs_Annual_Review_2017.pdf

http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/oil-and-gas/our-insights/lower-oil-prices-but-more-renewables-whats-going-on

2016 was the year solar panels finally became cheaper than fossil fuels. Just wait for 2017

https://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/IRENA_Solar_PV_Costs_Africa_2016.pdf

https://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe_re_cost_est.html

http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/IRENA_Renewable_Energy_Statistics_2017.pdf

Financing the Transition to Renewable Energy

The rise of renewable is no news; but the transition is not so clear for many actors in the sector, both enthusiasts and those impacted by the shift. Harvard Business Review has recently been looking deeper into the question of financing  the transition to renewable energy from two different perspectives: coal workers and industrial firms.

What If All U.S. Coal Workers Were Retrained to Work in Solar?

Young coal workers, in particular, should consider retraining for a job in solar now. In fact, Research from Oregon State University suggests most coal workers should start thinking about retraining now.

The study quantified the costs and benefits of retraining such workers in solar technology and explores different alternatives to finance the shift. It identifies four different ways of financing such a shift from individual funding options, company sponsored retraining, state driven programmes and federal government initiatives.

It concludes that in general after retraining, most technical workers would make more in the solar industry than previously in coal because there is a wide variety of employment opportunities in the solar industry, and that the annual pay is attractive at all levels of education, with even the lowest skilled jobs paying a living wage.

 

How Industrial Firms Invest in Renewable Energy, Affordably

Big companies have been buying a lot of clean energy;  but making it work in terms of costs and accounting can be a hurdle for industrial companies. HBR draws lessons from Owens Corning execs and how they laid out the strategy to get over the hurdles that industrial companies face when investing in renewable energy in order to add value  to the company, and the environment.

Ghana Capital Partners is Awarded Best African Focused Private Equity Firm 2016

Ghana Capital Partners  is pleased to announce that it has been awarded Best African Focused Private Equity Firm 2016 at the Wealth and Finance International Awards.

GCP award

The awards celebrate top performing businesses, individuals and departments on today’s fund landscape. These Awards highlight the game changing methods and stunning results achieved across the industry. The final winners were chosen by a combination of votes gathered from industry partners and in-house research carried out by Wealth and Finance International.

 

Ghana Capital Partners 28MW solar PV project awarded runners-up at 2nd West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF 2) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Sidney Yankson (right), founder of Ghana Capital Partners with Akinwumi Adesina (left), President of African Development Bank, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire     Sidney Yankson (left), founder of Ghana Capital Partners receiving his award from senior members of the African Development Bank, namely Mulu Ketsela, Ronald Meyer, Rafique J. Mahomed, Abidjan, Côte d'IvoireSidney Yankson, Ghana Captial Partners (right) at WAFCEF-2 with Albert Boateng (left) of CTI-PFAN, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire        Sidney Yankson, Ghana Capital Partners presenting to the judges and delegates at Africa Energy Week, African Development Bank, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

 

Finalists of WAFCEF-2, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

Ghana Capital Partners (“GCP”)  was awarded the runners-up prize in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on 17 September 2015, at the West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF-2).

Jointly organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) / Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Climate Technology Initiative – Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI P-FAN), the second West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF-2) business plan competition took place at AfDB Abidjan headquarters, September 17, 2015 as part of the ECOWAS Sustainable Energy & Investment High Level Forum.

The GCP project was the only project from Ghana to be included as a finalist. The other projects were from all over West Africa, including Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria.

Founder of GCP, Sidney Yankson said, “It was a great honour to represent Ghana at this event. Yesterday at the Energy Week Forum we heard Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank, the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, the Prime Minister of Benin  and the Prime Minister of Democratic Republic of Congo all share their support and vision for renewable energy as a key part of Africa’s future. It was great to be a part of that.”

GCP’s ground mounted 28MW solar PV project will provide much needed electricity to Ghana and will produce enough power annually to power 200,000 homes. This will raise one million (1,000,000) people out of energy poverty. The project will also reduce green house gas (carbon offset) emissions by 18,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per annum for the 25 years of the plant.

Alex Deprez, regional director of USAID said that together with Power Africa, USAID was happy to support clean energy projects in the region.

For more information, see:

WAFCEF-2

Energy Week, Abidjan, 14-18 September 2015

About SEFA

SEFA is a USD 90 million multi-donor facility funded by the governments of Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States. It supports the sustainable energy agenda in Africa through: grants to facilitate the preparation of medium-scale renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects; equity investments to bridge the financing gap for small- and medium-scale renewable energy generation projects; and support to the public sector to improve the enabling environment for private investments in sustainable energy. SEFA is hosted by the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department of the AfDB.

About ECREEE

ECREEE is a specialised agency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which acts as an independent body, within the legal, administrative and financial framework of ECOWAS rules and regulations. The overall objective of ECREEE is to contribute to the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of West Africa by improving access to modern, reliable and affordable energy services, energy security and reduction of energy-related GHG emissions and climate change impacts on the energy system.

About CTI PFAN

CTI PFAN is a multilateral, public-private partnership initiated by CTI in cooperation with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Expert Group on Technology Transfer.

 

Ghana Capital Partners shortlisted for second West Africa Clean Energy Finance Forum (WAFCEF-2) in Accra, Ghana, 25 March 2015

CTI-pfan

Ghana Capital Partners was shortlisted from 50 applicants to participate in the second West Africa Clean Energy Finance Forum (WAFCEF-2).

The WAFCEF-2 partners include the Climate Technology Initiative Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI PFAN), Regional Clean Energy Investment Initiative (RCEII) together with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), Banque ouest africaine de développement (BOAD), and the African Biofuels and Renewable Energy Company (ABREC), which is affiliated with the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).

The purpose of the forum is to reach out and attract potential start-ups and existing companies with promising clean energy projects. West African businesses selected through the Business Plan Competition will receive free mentoring to help them polish their business plans, develop convincing investment pitches, and formulate a commercially, financially, socially and environmentally viable growth strategy that in turn will significantly enhance the possibility of obtaining financing.

Albert Boateng, regional co-ordinator for West Africa, opened the session in Accra today and said the standard of applicants was high.

GCP founder Sidney Yankson presented GCPs 28MW solar PV project to the workshop. The GCP project once constructed will provide much needed power to the Ghana electricity distributor, Electricity Company of Ghana, for 200,000 homes.

The project is set to provide 42 GWhr/year of energy and create at least 20 jobs.

Sidney Yankson of GCP said, “We are keen to get the project off  the ground. The rolling blackouts in Ghana are probably reducing the countries output by 1% of GDP per ann.”

About the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA): SEFA is a multi-donor facility to support the sustainable energy agenda in Africa, operating through three components: (i) grants to facilitate the preparation of medium-scale renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects (ii) equity investments to bridge the financing gap for small- and medium-scale renewable energy generation projects and; (iii) support to public sector in improving the enabling environment for private investments in sustainable energy. SEFA is endowed with US $60 million from the Governments of Denmark and United States and hosted by the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department of the AfDB.

CTI-PFAN WAFCEF workshop - Accra, Ghana - 25 Mar 2015      CTI PFAN workshop, Accra, Ghana - 25 March 2015

 

GCP Solar appointed as official solar light supplier to Asa Baako Music Festival, Western Region, Ghana – 4 to 6 March 2015

 

In UN’s Year of Light, GCP Solar has been appointed the official solar light supplier to the Asa Baako Music Festival in Ghana, 4 March 2015.

In a sign of their commitment to helping reduce energy poverty and provide sustainable light, GCP Solar has partnered with the organisers of Asa Baako Music festival to distribute solar lights and solar mobile phone chargers at the festival over the independence day weekend in Ghana.

Asa Baako was launched in March 2011, in the spectacular fishing village of Busua in Ghana’s Western Region. It was here, where festival organisers from the UK and Ghana, joined together with local residents, to create a 2-day celebration of local arts and culture. Since then, Asa Baako has grown from one stage and a few hundred people, to a programme featuring the now legendary Jungle party, beach parties and a weekend of activities from surfing, art exhibitions, treks, tours, yoga, cinema for an audience of over 2,000 people.

Mr. Kofi Debrah of the Asa Baako organising committee said. “We are delighted to appoint GCP Solar as our sole solar light distributor. It is great that we can provide access to light for the 100 or so of the festival attendees that will be sleeping in tents. Also, there are many more coming from remote villages that also do not have lights.”

Mr. Sidney Yankson, founder of GCP Solar said, “ GCP Solar is happy to support this great festival of music and arts. Our solar light supplier, Nokero, has a distinguished track record in supporting the arts as they supported the Power The World concert a few years back during which Linkin Park performed. GCP Solar is looking forward to developing a long-term relationship with the festival.”

About GCP Solar

GCP Solar is a leading solar company in Africa. GCP Solar is a distributor of hand-held solar lanterns and roof top solar systems. Our aim is to provide safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly light solutions to the 400 million people living in Africa without light. In Ghana up to 5 million people (approximately 30% of the population) do not have access to the main power grid.

GCP Solar is a distributor of the Nokero® suite solar products, such as hand-held solar lights and mobile phone chargers.

About UN’s Year of Light

On 20 December 2013, the UN General Assembly 68th Session proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015). In proclaiming an International Year focusing on the topic of light science and its applications, the UN has recognised the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century.

(Learn more at www.light2015.org)

About Asa Baako

Asa Baako is a music and arts festival in Western Ghana.

(Learn more at www.asabaako.com)

Didier Drogba – Ivory Coast and Chelsea with his N200

Linkin Park – Power the World – N200

 

Sidney Yankson (CEO) attends a special presentation by the African Development Bank, the African Economic Outlook 2014, at New York University

Sidney Yankson (CEO) was invited to attend a special presentation by the Africa Development Bank (ADB) on 13 October 2014. The main theme of the evening was the global value chains and Africa’s industrialisation.

The event took place at New York University Africa House an interdisciplinary institute devoted to the study of contemporary Africa, focusing on economic, political, and social issues on the continent. The Africa Development Bank was founded in 1964 and has fifty-three African country shareholders. Their mission is to promote sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty in Africa.

Sidney commented that, “The ADB’s report provides a fantastic overview of the opportunities in Africa today.  Most of the countries they review have projected annual GDP growth in excess of 7%. That is phenomenal.

The ADB suggested that there are challenges to overcome, but in the long term African countries and companies will prevail.

The NYU professor suggested that Africa is resilient and will bounce back from the current Ebola crisis.

Therefore, the future looks bright, but there will be challenges.”

Besides the ADB special presentation, Sidney has attended a few other conferences whilst in New York and Washington. On 15 October Sidney was at a meeting in Washington DC discussing commercially operating minigrid systems with the US State Department, USAID, World Bank and the UN Foundation. The meeting allowed participants to recap on the High Impact Opportunity initiatives, membership and co-ordination. There were discussions about focusing on High Impact Initiatives and the upcoming input from DFID, African Development Bank and the World Bank.

Sidney will attend a further event on the 16-17 October that will comprise of a workshop focusing on proven private sector business models that are already in operation and leading the way in mini-grid development.

Ghana thinks big on small-scale solar

For almost five decades, hydroelectric power from the Volta region has been Ghana’s energy backbone, while the nascent oil and gas industry has recently risen up the agenda. But solar power could play an increasingly important role.

With over 5 million households off-grid, market potential for solar energy in Ghana is calling investors’ attention to expand mini-grids in rural and peri-urban areas.

Yet, business sustainability and return on investments remain question marks despite the attractive legal framework which followed Ghana’s Renewables Energy Act 2011. To date, modalities to offset feed-in tariffs are still unclear while doubts continue to cast over the capacity of Electricity Company of Ghana (the national electricity off-taker) to pay independent power producers (IPPs).
Some industry actors are however hopeful. Sidney Yankson, CEO of the Africa focused private equity boutique Ghana Capital Partners (GCP), currently developing a 28MW solar power plant (costing $56million), does not deny these arguments but remains strongly confident in advocating for solar. He told Africa Energy that solar energy is becomingly increasingly viable from a financial perspective also in Ghana, “both for commercial and residential purposes. The price of solar PV panels keeps decreasing and the appeal of a reliable energy source, powered by the sun, whose installation price will decrease – unlike the conventional electricity – cannot be underestimated.
Click here to read the full article.

Why Impact Investments will ensure a brighter future for Africa

Identifying the worlds most pressing issues can be a challenge. At GCP Solar we focus on providing safe and sustainable light solutions to the 400 million people living in Africa without light. The Head of Impact Investing Initiatives at the World Economic Forum (May 2014), Abigail Noble discussed the challenges of impact investments. Currently the average private equity deal is around US$36m and the average investment impact deal is around US$2m. For private equity firms to fully engage in impact investing it costs more to do. There is the bottom line measuring their fiscal performance financial profit, and then the second bottom line measuring the performance in the terms of positive social impact. Moreover, as the size of the deal is smaller, more consideration is needed in the terms of fee structures and due diligence.

Should impact investors anticipate market returns? Yes – a range of returns can be expected such as patient capital, whereby an investor will be willing to make a financial investment in a business with no expectation of turning a quick profit, substantial rewards will come further down the road. The Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of poverty, are cautious about stating that they’re opting for the long-view, some investors only make 0-1% returns. Impact private equity firms like LeapFrog make +20% quartile of returns. Leapfrog invests for the NextBillion, investing in high-growth companies in Africa and Asia, as well as delivering financial services to emerging consumers. These investors need to consider their priorities in the terms of social impact and legacy; are there equity needs in the short-term? Or can a longer perspective be taken?

One could then argue that if impact investments focus more on financial returns, could less profitable investments with strong social impacts be left behind? Noble argues that there is a risk. Given positive selection bias impact investment deals that target the highest returns will receive the most capital and the most effective investors in juxtaposition with those with lower returns. Noble describes how philanthropic capital and development is integral, once investors start to realise that targeting social and environmental returns can actually boost and make more long-run, stable, financial returns. For example, when looking at climate change, the Arab Spring, social unrest, youth unemployment or social inclusion, these can all affect the financial market. By the by, the more stability in social or political institutions, the better the business climate. Noble indicates that the “real way” to create a stable market economy would be to focus on social and financial returns in the long-run. GCP and GCP Solar’s basic focus towards Africa and African investments identifies that investments are long-term opportunities as well as a socially responsible and ethical investments.

GCP Solar’s Pilot Project in Tamale, Northern Ghana

In conjunction with Just Shea, GCP Solar distributed 384 solar lanterns to two off-grid lighting communities in Northern Ghana. These are rural areas with no current access to safe light or electricity.

GCP Solar is a distributor of the market leading Nokero® suite of solar products, such as hand-held solar lights and mobile phone chargers. A majority of the population currently use candles or kerosene to produce  light, these can have detrimental affects to their health as well as the environment.

Sidney Yankson (CEO, GCP Solar) ran one-to-one or group sessions teaching the Shea women, with an interpreter, about how to use their purchased solar lanterns. The solar lanterns were a part of their safety kit provided by Just Shea. After returning at nightfall, the feedback was already highly positive. Not only does this provide a safer and sustainable solution to bad lighting, the women actually saved extra money through buying the product. Many of them were pleased that their children could now do their homework after sundown.

The shea women collect shea nuts in remote areas in Northern Ghana. Shea butter is a popular type of moisturiser exported all over the world. 1 million women a year get bitten by snakes when picking the nuts, however now, thanks to their safety kit and solar lanterns, this figure may now be curbed. The Government of Ghana is hoping for 5GW of total power in the country in the years to come. Furthermore, they anticipate that a high proportion of this will come from renewable energy sources.

Bloomberg Philanthropies $5m impact investment into Little Sun, creators of solar-powered lamps

The former New York Mayor, Mike Bloomberg announced Bloomberg Philanthropies would make its first ever impact investment of $US5m into Little Sun, creators of solar lanterns in the off-grid lighting population in Africa. The ‘Little Sun’, is a solar-powered LED lamp developed by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson and created by engineer Frederik Ottesen, it provides safe and affordable light and hopes to replace kerosene as the favoured light source in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The impact investment will be by way of a low interest loan to enable Little Sun to expand its efforts to distribute its portable solar-powered lamps.

The Little Sun is an artistic looking light, the flower-shaped lamp that includes a 6cm by 6cm single cell mono-crystalline solar module, and when utilized in substitution to kerosene lights it also helps keep the environment safer.

Kerosene is not only expensive, costing about 20% of the average person’s income to maintain, but also demonstrated to have highly negative affects to users health and the environment. Incidentally, inhaling four hours worth of kerosene fumes is equivalent to smoking forty cigarettes.

The Little Sun lamp is currently available to be purchased in Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe. 

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving.

To read more about little sun please press here, or Bloomberg Philanthropies press here.

KKR to invest $US200m in Ethiopian rose business

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) is the latest large firm to recently announce a sizeable investment into an African enterprise, Afriflora, a rose business based in Ethiopia. The $US200m investment marks the private equity firms first ever deal on the continent.

The macro story behind Africa is certainly an appealing one; the current milieu is likely to see dramatic growth over the next decade. Moreover, it appears now to be uncommon to encounter a private equity LP that hasn’t contemplated a new Africa fund, there is definite scope for potential high growth on returns.

However, Swiss asset manager and academic, Cyril Demaria, argues that there is no indication that LPs can earn the sort of upside most of them anticipate from African markets. Demaria denotes how there are gross overestimations of returns; similarly Goldmans Sachs warns investors ought to be conscious of the possibility for underperformance in the market.

Ultimately, some may argue that those who invest in African enterprises need to reconsider the inherent risks of the markets and lower their return expectations. However, a focus on returns alone and their latent capacity for volatility and the unknown does not depict the GCP story. GCP and GCP Solar’s basic focus towards Africa and African investment identifies that investments are long-term opportunities, with the early move advantage as well as a socially responsible and ethical investment.

For more information about Afriflora please press here.

Solar vs. Coal? Solar’s the shining winner. Coal has burnt out…

It has been predicted by 2018, solar could be the most economically feasible source to power big cities. By 2040, +50% of all electricity may be produced in the same place it’s used.

In Queensland last week, for the first time ever, the wholesale price of electricity plummeted into negative territory by the mid-afternoon. Normally at this time, prices are around $NZ40-$50 a megawatt hour, however this figure remained at the value of $0. Prices stayed deflated throughout the week, rooftop solar is believed to be responsible for this. Rooftop solar is one of the newest and biggest power stations in the country. The recent influx of rooftop solar is having grave affects on wholesale prices of power.

Coal will never be free, rooftop solar has been labelled as the democratisation of energy. The next move would be for households and businesses to completely disassociate from the grid, this is a terrifying prospect for coal generators. It is unclear how centralised, fossil-fuel generation, can adapt in an energy democracy.

GCP Solar recognises that West Africa benefits from high levels of solar irradiation. Currently the distribution of handheld solar lanterns is underway in rural villages in Northern Ghana, the GCP Solar team comments that the impacts already seem highly positive. These rooftop solar systems, set to be distributed by GCP Solar,  will provide significant benefits to the users, such as flexible financing to their customers and reliable and clean technology. This coming September, Sidney Yankson (CEO) will be speaking at the West Africa Conference in Ghana. He will discuss the possibilities for renewable technologies in the sub-region encouraging growth and development and a brighter future for Africa.

For the full Guardian Article press here.

U.S set to invest up to US$498 Million in Ghana’s Electricity Network

Bloomberg announced on 4 August that the U.S is set to invest as much as $498.2 million, over an initial five year period, to improve Ghana’s electricity network. This is part of an effort to encourage private investment and help the West African nation become a regional energy hub.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent U.S agency focusing on foreign aid, it will provide $308.2 million to enhance generators and power lines in the region. If certain targets are met in Ghana, a further $190 million will be made available, which the government corporation didn’t specify.

Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama described how “energy is increasingly becoming a constraint to growth in Africa”. He is currently attending the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. Fifty African leaders have been invited to the White House by Barack Obama to discuss investing into the Sub-Saharan continent. The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit hopes to unlock opportunities, stimulate growth and create an enabling environment for the next generation in Africa.

Ghana plans to invest $37.4 million of its own fund in the power initiative, which Millennium Challenge said will help generate more than $4 billion in the nations energy sector. These ideals embody the mission of GCP Solar, to help spread sustainable energies and provide energy security to those at the base of the pyramid. Through establishing investments in the energy sector this will hopefully nudge African governments in other areas such as human rights, such as girls, women and gays establishing good governance. Similarly GCP Solar hopes having access to safe lighting will help businesses prosper and enable personal development.

For the full article please press here