USAID Call for Partnership Concept Papers: Scaling Investment in Off-Grid Energy Solutions in Africa

Deadline: 30 April 2017

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Global Development Lab and Power Africa are seeking concept papers for “Global Development Alliance (GDA) Annual Program Statement (APS)” focused on increasing private investment in off-grid energy in Africa as part of the Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development.

The Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development (SOGE) seeks to accelerate growth in the off-grid energy market to provide 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa with access to modern, clean, and affordable electricity. However, access to capital and cost of capital remains a key market barrier, severely limiting enterprise growth and the household solar sector’s capacity to scale and mature as an industry.

USAID has found that small infusions of grant funding can assist early-stage enterprises to achieve investment readiness on accelerated timelines, increasing opportunities for private sector investment. This call for Concept Papers is aimed at addressing this access to capital barrier.


  • Use public funding to leverage private financing in the household solar market through investor engagement and partnerships.
  • Support innovative technology solutions and business models across the household solar value chain that provide, or support the provision of, affordable energy access to low-income households and small businesses across sub-Saharan Africa.

Funding Information

USAID may allocate up to $4,000,000 under the Addendum to fund a portfolio of partnerships, with funding for individual partnerships estimated in the range of $500,000 to $1,500,000. The resulting portfolio will seek to maximize USAID’s capacity to advance each of the above objectives.

  • Award Ceiling: $1,500,000
  • Award Floor: $500,000

Eligibility Criteria

  • USAID welcomes applications from many types of organizations including U.S. and non-U.S. private businesses, business and trade associations, foundations, U.S. and non-U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), faith-based organizations, international organizations, U.S. and non-U.S. colleges and universities, civic groups, regional organizations, etc.
  • All applicants must be legally recognized organizational entities under applicable law.
  • An individual cannot apply as an applicant.
  • External Leverage – Applicants must demonstrate private investor financial commitment at a minimum 2:1 ratio of the funding requested from USAID. That is, the level of private investment must be at least twice as much as the level of funding requested from USAID. This private investor commitment must be 1) a new investment commitment or 2) an investment commitment in progress that is significantly enhanced as a result of USAID engagement.
    • USAID seeks to engage with investors early in the process in order to maximize the impact of grant funding on private sector involvement in the off-grid energy sector.
  • Enterprise Stage – Applicants should be early to early-growth stage, with an existing positive track record in one or more African markets related to household solar deployment. Applicants must have a proven business model with a record of success, yet be at a growth stage in which a lack of access to capital is prohibiting the enterprise’s capacity to scale or launch in a new market.
  • Geographic Focus – This Addendum focuses on sub-Saharan Africa. Concept Papers and full applications must be for companies operating in one or more sub-Saharan countries. Currently,
    • USAID has active SOGE investments in Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya – but Concept Papers submitted under this Addendum is open to markets across sub-Saharan Africa

How to Apply

Interested applicants must send their concept papers at the address given on the website.

Eligible Countries: Angola, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe, the Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan or Zimbabwe and United States

For more information, please visit USAID Call for Partnership.


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