On December 10th, 2018, FMO and Symbiotics announced a $32.5 million solar investment for a Tanzanian project by ZOLA Electric. The investment aims to increase electricity access in Tanzania the upcoming five years. Moreover, this will lead to 145,500 households to be electrified and 2,100 new jobs in Tanzania.
Providing energy access
The main investor is FMO, a Dutch development bank, with the support of Symbiotics, a market access platform for impact investments like this one. ZOLA Electric, former known as Offgrid Electric, already delivers energy to over 1 million residents in 5 countries. The Tanzanian based company is ambitious to provide solar as a service to as many people as possible. With the lack of electricity in over 80% of Tanzania and the grid being to expensive for most households, this is a welcome and noble cause.
Sustainable and health benefits
Besides providing energy access, ZOLA Electric is focused on a sustainable future. By using solar, a renewable energy source, they reduce emissions and reduce the use of kerosene. Developing countries still use the latter for lighting, heating and cooking. Unfortunately, Kerosene is a polluting fuel oil, not just as a contributor to global warming, but also a potential danger to (the health of) the users. It is flammable, toxic when inhaled and can irritate the eyes and skin. A switch to solar could prevent all these hazards.
FMO is a Dutch development bank, with the aim to create a better better world. They do this by investing in entrepreneurial activities to support empowerment and jobs. In other words, they do not only invest with money, they also help the businesses with their operations and to become more transparent and environmental and socially responsible. FMO sees developing countries as emerging markets, although they form a bigger risk. This, together with their vision to have all 9 million people on the planet in 2050 to live within the planet boundaries, they are perfectly suited for a project like ZOLA’s.
Symbiotics, with their expertise in impact investments, facilitates the solar investment made by FMO. They value the social aspects of investments, as well as integrity, innovation and sustainability. With the support in 3600 transaction, they are an experienced party to handle the transaction between ZOLA and FMO.