ImpactAlpha, January 25 – Investment advisory group CrossBoundary has been involved in $500 million in private sector investments across Africa. The group is targeting the continent’s energy opportunity with a $16 million fund to expand mini-grids. The Rockefeller Foundation and family office Ceniarth are the fund’s first investors.
Roughly 600 million people in Africa lack access to reliable energy services. CrossBoundary’s new initiative is part of an effort to unlock what it estimates is $11 billion needed to install mini-grids – self-sufficient electricity setups – connecting 100 million people. The facility, called CrossBoundary Energy Access, will enable services for 170,000 people in Tanzania, Nigeria, and Zambia. Shell Foundation, U.K. Aid, Norton Rose Fulbright, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett supported the facility’s design and development.
CrossBoundary Energy Access is not CrossBoundary’s first vehicle in the energy sector. In 2015, the organization launched a fund focused on commercial and industrial solar installations. The fund, CrossBoundary Energy Fund I, has helped secure, finance and build solar projects totaling 30-megawatts, backed by power purchase agreements, which are long-term commitments from customers like cell tower operators or remote hospitals that buy and use the power.