FMO signed an EUR 500k convertible note to ZIZ Energie (ZIZ), a privately-owned integrated power company in Chad. A leading player in the energy industry, ZIZ provides energy access to Africa’s 5th-largest country, which currently has just a 10% electrification rate. FMO is providing development equity for the local entrepreneur’s mini-grid projects through the FMO Ventures Program.
The investment is part of a EUR 2 million convertible round in a co-investment with Energy Access Ventures (EAV) and marks the start of a larger investment round that aims to allow ZIZ to scale its operations and improve green energy access to households and smaller businesses in secondary towns across the country.
Scaling access to clean energy in Chad
Chad is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, ranking 186th out of 188 countries on the UN Human Development Index. The country has an installed generation capacity of 176MW, with only seven towns connected to the grid. The overall electrification rate currently stands at ~10% while rural areas are at a mere ~1%. This makes Chad heavily dependent on expensive, diesel-powered gensets (EUR 0.8-0.9/kWh), with households paying an average of 77 cents per kWh. ZIZ aims to reduce this price to 40 cents per kWh.
Having successfully operated five diesel-powered sites in several Chadian towns for the past decade, ZIZ is now developing largescale ‘metro-grids’ by hybridizing and expanding these sites with solar energy and battery storage to extend their distribution network and increase population coverage and operating hours.
A phased investment
The first financing round will cover development costs - including initial investments in the corporate E&S Management Framework - and part of the start of the construction of the first site “Mongo” (see picture and illustration below). The next phase involves constructing the 2.5 MW of Solar PV power generation and 5MWh of battery storage, as well as replacing ZIZ’s existing diesel-powered mini-grids. Over the next five years, ZIZ intends to roll out 20 mini-grids in Chad.
Marieke Roestenberg, FMO Ventures Program Manager: “ZIZ is the perfect fit for FMO Ventures Program, which aims to empower innovative business models that improve access to goods and services such as electricity to the un(der)served in emerging markets. We believe that local companies like ZIZ are best positioned to champion affordable clean energy access efforts in frontier markets. We are excited to be able to support ZIZ’s ambitions to scale, together with our trusted partner EAV.
Emmanuel Beau, Founder and Partner at EAV: “EAV and FMO co-investing in ZIZ Energie is a testimony of how the energy access market is likely to evolve in the next decade, towards more local entrepreneurs, public partnerships and smart grids. FMO is an outstanding partner for ZIZ to unlock and seize the growth opportunity in Chad, alongside EAV. We are excited about the impact of this transaction and how it can foster access in Central African countries.”