Raising capital to improve healthcare via access to clean and cheap energy

February 1, 2020

Project details

For too long, a lack of reliable power has prevented people in remote and rural communities from accessing the healthcare they need. KOIS is designing an innovative financing mechanism to scale up UNDP’s Solar for Health initiative. In fact, S4H helps governments in providing clean energy access for health facilities by installing PV systems.

Providing health clinics with a clean, stable and free source of energy

Energy poverty prevents access to many services, and namely has a great impact on healthcare. For health clinics, maternity wards, surgery blocks, medical warehouses and laboratories, having an intermittent or unreliable power source puts lives at risk on a daily basis.

UNDP’s Solar for Health initiative is supporting governments in giving stable and clean energy access for health facilities. Their programme installs solar systems in healthcare centers across Africa, the Arab States and Central Asia. Those systems help ensure quality healthcare for all by providing reliable and cost-effective access to electricity. Additionnally, having a clean source of energy also reduces harmful emissions.

Attracting capital through innovative finance

In this context, KOIS and Differ – a solar energy investment & advisory firm – were mandated to design an innovative financing mechanism. The tool aims to attract new sources of public and private capital, allowing for a scale-up of the programme. The feasibility study focused on five pilot countries (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and Liberia).

In the scope of this study, KOIS engaged with many actors, namely during field visits. From local governments, to bilateral and multilateral donors, to investors, to local energy companies and financial institutions. These meetings allowed a better understanding of their respective needs. KOIS and Differ also assessed their appetites for a sustainable innovative financing mechanism.

Looking ahead at structuring the blended finance mechanism, it will be essential to tailor the target model(s) very carefully. Our field findings showed the need to consider local specificities. However, the project also needs to benefit from the advantages of a larger pooled fund. This balance will certainly be taken into account in the design of an innovative finance instrument.

Imagine giving birth or performing surgery in darkness – or at best under the dim glow of a cell phone torch. These are just some of the inescapable consequences of unreliable access to electricity. And unfortunately, they further hamper availability of quality healthcare for vulnerable populations. The abundance of solar radiance puts Africa in a prime position to benefit from this clean and sustainable source of energy. Scaling up S4H’s activities has the potential to greatly increase energy access for health facilities in Africa.

Benhan Limketkai

Principal, KOIS London

Expected Impact of the DIB

countries

MW of cumulative installed solar PV capacity

healthcare facilities with a PV system

beneficiaries

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