Submit Applications for Innovative Early-Stage Clean Energy Projects in Active Development

Deadline Date: March 15, 2024

Donor Name: Energy and Environment Partnership Trust Fund (EEP Africa)

Grant Size: More than $1 million

EEP Africa invites companies, start-ups and social enterprises to submit applications for innovative early-stage clean energy projects in active development in Southern and Eastern Africa.

The Energy and Environment Partnership Trust Fund (EEP Africa) is a clean energy financing facility hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) with funding from Austria, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, NDF, Norway and Switzerland.

Priority Themes

EEP Africa has several priority themes that are expected to remain relevant over time due to their importance to EEP Africa’s Donors. Applicants are expected to address one or more of these themes in their project proposal:

  • Gender & Youth: EEP Africa looks for proposed projects which promote gender equality and youth and create opportunities for women and youth (18-35 years of age) in the clean energy sector whilst also supporting the core business objectives of the applicants. Projects submitted under this theme should therefore incorporate one or more of the following dimensions:
    • Inclusion of women and youth in value chains
    • Development of women and youth entrepreneurship & leadership
    • Promotion of women and youth economic empowerment through productive uses of energy
    • Increased access to finance for women and youth (entrepreneurs and/or end users)
  • Circular economy & productive uses of energy: Applicants are encouraged to submit projects that create sustainable jobs and increased economic activity through promoting productive uses of energy as well as solutions that drive the circular economy. Solutions promoting:
    • productive uses of energy are those that will have a direct net positive impact on the end users’ ability to generate income and increase revenue; and
    • the development of a circular economy are those that redesign production and consumption models around reducing, reusing and recycling by leveraging clean energy. This can include e.g, waste-to-energy, and energy efficiency projects.
  • Climate change adaptation & resilience: Enhancing access to clean energy is traditionally linked to climate change mitigation. However, the climate adaptation and resilience co-benefits achieved through investing in early-stage clean energy solutions often outweigh the mitigation impact, especially in the off-grid sector.
  • Leave no one behind (LNOB): EEP Africa strongly supports the LNOB agenda as a central and transformative promise behind the SDGs to 2030. Applicants are therefore encouraged to propose projects which target solutions for those communities and end users at the bottom of the pyramid, especially vulnerable groups that are hardest to reach and marginalised from economic development. Proposed projects can also target fragile and humanitarian contexts, such as communities and end users in regions of conflict and/or refugee camps.


EEP Africa is technology agnostic, but all solutions have to be based on renewable energy sources (solar, biomass, wind, hydro, geothermal, other renewable energy sources) or energy efficiency as outlined. Projects should fall into one of the following groups of technologies:

  • Residential electricity access
  • Productive uses of energy (commercial and/or institutional)
  • Mini grids (AC or DC)
  • Power generation
  • Clean cooking (residential and/or institutional, stoves and/or fuels)
  • Mobility (electric and/or fuels)
  • Energy efficiency
  • Other


  • Although EEP Africa funded projects address a wide array of SDGs the following five are considered relevant to most projects and thus reported on a portfolio level: SDG 1 No poverty, SDG 5 Gender equality, SDG 7 Affordable & clean energy, SDG 8 Decent work & economic growth, and SDG 13 Climate action. The success of EEP Africa contributing to these SDGs is measured through the following indicators:
    • SDG 1 No poverty: Amount of savings on energy-related expenditures, additional income generated;
    • SDG 5 Gender equality: Share of women in leadership, share of women-led companies funded, share of women employed by EEP Africa grantees;
    • SDG 7 Affordable & clean energy: Number of people with enhanced energy access, amount of clean energy installed & generated;
    • SDG 8 Decent work & economic growth: Number of decent jobs created (full-time, temporary, commission-based); and
    • SDG 13 Climate action: GHG emissions reduced or avoided, amount of investment leveraged.

Project Types & Phases

  • Project activities must be consistent with a clear path to profitability with reasonable expectation of further investment and sustainable commercialisation. Each proposed project needs to have a compelling business case that supports the objectives of EEP Africa in a sustainable manner.
  • Projects are categorised into either development or expansion phase. Under development phase, applicants can submit either feasibility studies or pilot projects. Under expansion phase, applicants can submit replication or scale-up projects.
    • Development phase
      • Feasibility study: Analysis and evaluation to determine technological, commercial, social, environmental, and economic viability. The feasibility study may be a refinement of a prefeasibility study and should present information for investors to finance the next stage of the project.
      • Pilot project: Testing and/or implementing of a product, service, and business or delivery model for the first time or in a new market.
    • Expansion phase
      • Replication project: A project that has proven the viability of its technology and the sustainability of its business model in one market and is now looking for support to take the model to another market.
      • Scale-up project: A project that has a high probability of reaching commercial viability with “bridging finance” from EEP Africa. Applicants should provide information on the commercial maturity of the business or project and why EEP Africa funding is needed.

Funding Information

  • The fund supports access to grant financing between EUR 200,000 to 1 million.
  • Project Duration: The project implementation period is limited to 24 months after signing the contract. Applicants should propose the project period based on their best estimate of the time necessary to finalise all project activities and report to EEP Africa.

Repayable Grants

  • Repayable grants bring additional dimensions to EEP Africa’s financing toolkit. They are defined according to the following principles:
    • Any proportion of the EEP Africa grant exceeding EUR 500,000 will automatically be considered as a repayable grant.
    • Any feasibility studies for on-grid and/or utility scale development are considered repayable pending financial close (regardless of financing level requested).
    • Any share of the requested grant amount which is dedicated to the acquisition of stock and/or inventory that will generate direct revenue to the applicant through sales, essentially working capital, will need to be repayable.

Core Activities

EEP Africa focuses on three core activities:

  • Clean Energy Financing: EEP Africa channels funding through open, competitive calls for proposals, offering both grants and repayable grants on a co-financing basis to early-stage innovative projects that are in active development.
  • Investment Facilitation (IF) and Business Development Support (BDS): In addition to financing, EEP Africa enhances the investment readiness of its grantees through targeted business development services and cohort level trainings.
  • Knowledge, Learning and Partnerships: EEP Africa leverages the lessons learned from its diverse project portfolio to develop knowledge products that advance clean energy understanding and awareness. EEP Africa works closely with partners to amplify lessons and harmonise activities for increased efficiency.

Geographic Scope

  • The geographic scope for CfP 2024 includes 17 countries: Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
  • Seychelles is no longer eligible for ODA funding and has therefore been removed while Madagascar, Comoros and Mauritius were added to complete the geographic coverage of Eastern and Southern Africa.
  • Projects may be implemented in more than one of the above countries as regional projects. Results and project outputs need to be clearly attributed to each country within the regional scope.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Lead applicants
    • EEP Africa aims to fund the following types of organisations:
      • Private companies
      • Start-ups
      • Social enterprises
    • All applicants must be registered legal entities for at least six months at the time of the EoI opening date. They need to demonstrate strong local engagement and projects should be in active development.
    • Organisations may only serve as lead applicant on ONE application but can be involved in other applications as a project partner.
    • They discourage:
      • applicants to apply with the same project scope in multiple countries as individual applications,
      • global parent companies to submit applications in multiple countries through their local subsidiaries.
    • These cases will be interpreted as one organisation submitting multiple applications which will lead to disqualification of all applications.
  • Partnerships
    • Consortia are eligible to apply but need to nominate one organisation as the lead applicant. The lead applicant has full responsibility for the implementation of the project, including compliance with the funding contract and reporting.
    • Individuals, NGOs, research institutions and mainstream government institutions, e.g., government ministries, UN agencies and national/provincial/district departments, are NOT eligible to apply as lead applicant but may be included in an application as a project partner.

For more information, visit EEP Africa.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Looking for expert advice on economics?