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SEB fund helps finance solar home-systems in Africa

The SEB Impact Opportunity Fund helps finance solar home-systems in four African countries through its collaboration with US-based social company Greenlight Planet.

One billion people across the world still live without access to energy and Greenlight Planet – a for-profit social company – has set itself a mission to deliver affordable energy to off-grid families in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria. The idea is to replace wood and kerosene, with a clean energy source.

The solar home-systems provides households and small businesses with lighting, mobile phone charging and a radio creating a big impact on people's way of living as the benefits of solar energy are many. It is much safer, more reliable and less toxic than both charcoal and kerosene and less time is spent on travelling to charge your mobile phone or collect woods. This means more time to spend on income generating work and businesses improving welfare and more hours available for studying. Since many of Greenlight Planet's clients cannot afford to pay for the system all at once, they are offered to pay on a daily or weekly basis with mobile money until they own the assets.

"The SEB Impact Opportunity Fund has a flexible investment universe and the possibility to target different sectors through financial intermediaries, companies and projects. Every investment has a mission to achieve impact within education, energy and environment, food and agriculture or gender equality amongst others," says Hanna Holmberg, who manage the fund together with Camilla Löwenhielm.

SEB Impact Opportunity Fund was launched in 2018 and just recently released its first annual impact report – for 2019 – on how the fund is contributing to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The fund targets low and middle-income households and micro-, small and medium enterprises in emerging and frontiers markets.

As of December 2019, the fund had a portfolio of 50.2 million US dollars invested in 50 financial institutions and companies in 35 countries. The fund is growing and today has over 100 million dollars invested. The fund invested one million dollars in the African solar home-systems project.

The SEB Impact Opportunity Fund is an open-ended fund for institutional investors which commits its investments for at least six, but sometimes up to nine years. This structure makes it possible for the fund to develop with the market.

Read the fund's annual report