USAID grants Tanzanian solar startup Off Grid Electric $5m

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has through its US Global Development Lab provided Tanzanian solar startup Off Grid Electric with US$5 million in follow-on funding.

It is the latest fundraising success for Off Grid Electric, which earlier this month raised US$25 million in funding to enable it to expand to a second market, Rwanda. Disrupt Africa reported in December last year the startup raised US$16 million.

The USAID award, funded through the Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) programme, will allow Off Grid Electric to test its model at scale and catalyse additional investments to reach more than one million households.

The compay currently provides affordable, reliable light and energy services to 10,000 new households per month, allowing customers to pre-pay for electrical services using mobile money and access small-scale solar home systems with integrated appliances.

“Access to clean and reliable light and electricity can empower vulnerable communities to escape a cycle of extreme poverty,” said Ann Mei Chang, executive director of the US Global Development Lab.

“Through our DIV programme, we are proud to support Off Grid Electric’s innovative approach to tackling this critical global challenge.”

Off Grid Electric will use the award to power more than 200,000 Tanzanian households. The startup is the first DIV-supported programme to receive three rounds of tiered funding, beginning in 2012. It has used previous grants to test and prove its operations in Tanzania.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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