Energise Africa: We can all have a big impact with small money

Written by Rachel Mountain on 12th Apr 2019

The end of 2018 was when many of the arguments about the need for urgent action on climate change and sustainability came home to roost. First, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in October that global warming could still be limited to 1.5°C but “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” would be needed by governments around the world within the next 12 years.

The second moment came when the UN’s Emissions Gap report was published just before COP24, the UN climate change conference in Poland, in December. This concluded that all governments must triple their efforts after emissions increased in 2018 following three years of stability.

“The arguments about the need for urgent action on climate change and sustainability have come home to roost”

Finally, the World Economic Forum highlighted that genuine inclusive economic growth still remains elusive and that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which outlined a global strategy to transform the world – didn’t have a tactical plan for execution, as well as a $2.5 trillion annual funding cap.

Add to this a catalogue of climate change weather disasters including hurricanes, flooding, ferocious fires and – most recently – the shifting of an icy polar vortex that cost the US more than $133 billion in damages, you could be forgiven for thinking political leaders would be galvanised to take action. In reality, though, political inertia remains.

 

People power

Increasingly, it seems it may be up to the likes of you and me to step up to the challenge and use modest amounts of our own money to deliver the social and environmental impact that is so desperately needed.

Helping people to do this is what Energise Africa is all about. The brainchild of two of Europe’s leading impact investing platforms, Ethex and Lendahand, Energise Africa enables investment for as little as £50 directly in to pioneering businesses that install life-changing solar systems in homes in sub-Saharan Africa.  These accelerate universal access to affordable, reliable and clean energy for all – addressing UN Sustainable Development Goal seven.

“The collective impact of our community of investors has, in only 18 months, so far mitigated 66,000 tonnes of CO2 annually from the atmosphere”

People who invest in these pioneering solar businesses provide them with the low-cost working capital they need to provide pay as you go solar to low income families. The collective impact of our community of investors has, in only 18 months, so far mitigated 66,000 tonnes of CO2
annually from the atmosphere.

It has also given more than 275,000 people access to affordable solar energy in countries including Mali, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya, DRC, Cameroon and Tanzania, where energy access rates can be as low as 17 per cent.

But these investments aren’t just about solar electricity; the additional benefits for families include health and educational benefits, income generating opportunities, financial inclusion, poverty alleviation and gender equality.

Mind money connection

People who invest in projects via Energise Africa are connected to their money and can see the social and environmental impact that their investment is having on the ground, as well as tracking their financial returns – which typically target 6 per cent annually.

“We don’t need to wait for governments to act – everyday people can use the power of their money to drive real and lasting change right now”

As with any investment, however, investors should be aware that their capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed and investments of this kind are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). What platforms like Energise Africa, Ethex and Lendahand are providing are real alternatives for people to take collective action on the main issues affecting our society today.

We don’t need to wait for governments to act – everyday people can use the power of their money to drive real and lasting change right now.

To find out more about Energise Africa’s latest projects, visit www.energiseafrica.co.uk

This article is taken from the Good Guide to Impact Investing – your comprehensive guide to making a big impact with your spare change. Download your FREE COPY here

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