Webinar: Energy, finance and community business – where is the money?

Electricity drives economic development. But many small community-level businesses and smallholder farmers in rural parts of sub-Saharan Africa need more access to affordable energy financing to thrive. This IIED Debates event organized with Hivos on Monday, 30 November will explore what mechanisms can enable community businesses and farmers to access the financing they need to grow their businesses by using energy productively.

More ways are emerging to help businesses across sub-Saharan Africa get the energy finance they need to grow but small businesses in rural communities are still missing out. The uptake of ‘productive use of energy’ (PUE) – energy that can help these community-level businesses increase their income and productivity – is not yet happening at any scale.

Current finance paths such as table banking and group lending can enable households with minimum resources to begin investing. Savings and Credit Co-Operative Societies (SACCOs) offer avenues for larger pots of money, but most women face additional barriers in accessing larger amounts of affordable financing.

Lenders to both community businesses and farmers see many risks in offering financial products to smaller opportunities. Businesses themselves may lack knowledge on finance products and be risk adverse to borrowing.

Many energy providers can be more proactive in supporting businesses to use PUE but a cross-sectoral approach is required, as well as more commitment.

What approaches to financing community businesses can connect different finance supply programs, to better target and local business types that use energy? How can these address differing perceptions and the needs of women-led versus male-led businesses?

Driven by local organizations and voices from the ground we will explore what opportunities exist that community businesses and smallholder farmers can leverage for productive uses of energy. What is the role of energy providers and finance institutes in supporting PUE? And finally, has COVID-19 affected perceptions to accessing finance?

When: Monday, 30 November 2020, 12-1 pm (GMT)
For more information and to book your place >> please visit the Eventbrite online booking platform

About the speakers

Thabit Mikidadi is the program and communications manager at Tanzania Gender and Sustainable Energy Network (TANGSEN)
Sheila Oparaocha is international coordinator and programme manager at ENERGIA
Fatma Muzo is the country director at Solar Sister in Tanzania
Kevin Johnstone is a researcher in the Shaping Sustainable Markets research group at IIED
Winnie Terry is the executive secretary of the Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions (TAMFI
Halidi M. Mbwana is the investment and facilitation officer at the National Economic Empowerment Council (NEEC)