Gaia Impact Fund announces a milestone equity investment in Nuru, a minigrid developer and operator in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
“Nuru is thrilled to be partnering with Gaia Impact Fund to bring millions of people renewable energy in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, says Jonathan Shaw, CEO of Nuru.
Nuru, which recently commissioned a 1.3MW minigrid in Goma, DRC, aims to provide electricity to 5 million people by 2024 through solar hybrid minigrids. DRC represents more than half of the population of Central Africa and has also one of the lowest electrification rates, at just 15%. While minigrids have an increasing role to play as the least-cost solution in the future electricity mix in countries such as DRC, they have been a largely underfunded segment of energy access markets. Against this backdrop, Gaia Impact Fund is happy to announce its first investment in the minigrid sector.
Hélène Demaegdt, President of Gaia Impact Fund, comments: “We are very proud to commit alongside Nuru, which has a first-to-market position in DRC and is in the process of deploying one the largest offgrid solar-based minigrid pipelines in Africa. All the connections created by Nuru’s projects are essential to address the needs of under-served urban areas and to displace diesel generation.”
By offering a stable and reliable electricity supply, at a cheaper price than existing (and non-renewable) sources of energy, Nuru aims to directly serve commercial and industrial off-takers as well as to sell power to households, SMEs and institutions.
“We are impressed by Nuru’s capable local team, successfully commissioning one of Africa’s largest minigrids in DRC’s complex and unstable environment”, says Guilhem Dupuy, Investment Director at Gaia Impact Fund. “We look forward to supporting Nuru to realize its scale up ambitions and to deliver on its mission in the country, alongside the impressive pool of investors and partners already committed around Nuru.”
Gaia’s investment comes along with Energy Access Ventures (EAV), a leading investor in smart infrastructure in Africa and an active shareholder in the company. Nuru is also supported by ElectriFI, a flexible financial facility funded by the European Union.
Jonathan Shaw adds: “Throughout the investment process, the team at Gaia Impact Fund demonstrated the agility, creativity, and commitment Nuru needs from its shareholders to navigate the unique challenges and opportunities that the DRC offers. We are excited to begin this journey with Gaia Impact Fund.”
Nuru (Swahili for “light”) is a mini-grid developer providing energy access through solar-hybrid systems in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). With the national electrification rate at just 15%, Nuru provides more affordable and reliable power for longer in the absence of the grid to Commercial & Industrial clients, Households, SMEs and Institutions that rely heavily on expensive diesel gensets for their power needs. The company was founded by Jonathan Shaw (CEO) who is backed by a local team with a deep understanding of the DRC business context, political landscape and regulatory environment.
For more information check: https://nuru.cd/
About Gaia Impact Fund
Gaia Impact Fund is a French impact fund dedicated to energy access entrepreneurs. Gaia invests in startups and SMEs operating in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia, and active on various segments: solar kits, productive uses of electricity, minigrids, commercial & industrial solar installations, cleantech. Gaia Impact Fund was created by a team of entrepreneurs specialized in renewable energy and social impact investing. Since 2017, Gaia has supported 8 innovative companies in emerging countries and is actively pursuing its investment strategy with strong social and environmental impact.
For more information check: www.gaia-impactfund.com