Promoting socially and environmentally sustainable social enterprise

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Why private finance is not filling the electricity supply funding gap in sub-Saharan Africa

Keith Palmer challenges the conventional view that the way to increase electricity consumption and grid access is to invest more in generating capacity regardless of cost.

The paper shows that consumption of electricity and grid access are constrained by lack of demand, the result of high billing costs and low incomes of the vast majority. The high cost of IPP capacity contracted over recent decades has increased billing costs in most countries, reducing household consumption and ability to access the grid.

If consumption and access are to increase more rapidly and better environmental outcomes are to be achieved then actions will be needed to drive down generation costs and increase the share of renewables in generation portfolios and stimulate more investment by priority business customers by reducing the cost and improving the reliability of their electricity supply.

The paper can be accessed here.

Keith is EfD’s Chair of Trustees.

Discussion paper: Why are sub-Saharan economies not growing sustainably?

Keith Palmer’s most recent discussion paper focuses on why sub-Saharan economies are not growing sustainably.

High GDP growth rates sustained across sub-Saharan Africa throughout the 2000-2012 “long decade” led some to claim that a process of economic transformation took place across the continent. However, the reality was very different with strong external drivers and weak domestic policy responses causing a deterioration in the competitiveness of agribusiness and manufacturing.

A breakdown in the favourable external environment since 2013 has exposed the need for major policy shifts, beyond simply restoring macro-economic balance. However, this will only be possible when host governments fully appreciate the nature and magnitude of the challenges their economies face and are willing to effect the necessary changes. At present too many have looked at the headline GDP growth rates and assumed wrongly that all is well.

The paper can be accessed here.

Keith is EfD’s Chair of Trustees.

EfD announces support for techfortrade’s Open Book Trading initiative

EfD has agreed to support the continued expansion of the Open Book Trading initiative, an online trading service for agricultural produce.

See here for more information.

Linkage Africa Case Study

EfD has prepared a case study documenting the lessons learned from Linkage’s pilot scheme. Linkage is a vegetable brokerage enterprise working with smallholder farmers in Nakuru, Kenya. The pilot scheme was implemented between July-December 2014.

Agriculture Thematic Funding Window

EfD recently launched a thematic funding window to identify and support social enterprises working in agriculture that require grant funding to initiate or scale up their operations. Some design features of the thematic funding window are provided below:

  • Sector: We are interested in opportunities involved in agriculture, with a particular emphasis on those opportunities that utilise technology to improve agricultural productivity.
  • Country focus: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
  • Population group: Opportunities should target improved livelihoods for smallholder farmers.

  • Size of grants to be provided: Grants are available through the funding window from a minimum value of $20,000 to a maximum value of $60,000.

The funding window has now closed to new opportunities and the selected grantees will be announced shortly.