KawiSafi Ventures was created to unlock the potential of renewable off-grid energy as a faster, cheaper, and cleaner way to bring power to Africa’s energy poor communities than extending the grid. Its aim is to deliver clean, affordable energy to more than 10 million people in East Africa, at least half of whom are low-income, and displace more than a million tons of carbon; contributing to solving energy poverty while helping to avert the long-term climate crisis.
The Fund was created and developed by Acumen, an internationally recognized pioneer of impact investing that has invested more than $115 million in companies solving some of the biggest challenges of global poverty. After a decade of investing more than $20 million of patient capital across the off-grid ecosystem, Acumen recognized the powerful potential of decentralized renewable energy solutions, both in terms of investment and impact.
The idea for a patient yet commercial fund that could help companies to grow and have an impact at scale was born from Acumen’s experience. A group of influential philanthropists and investors—including Skoll Foundation, Steve Jurvetson, and Chris Anderson—contributed significant thought leadership and financial support to develop this fund and make KawiSafi Ventures a reality. The Green Climate Fund joined as an engaged anchor partner, enabling the fund to make its first investments.
KawiSafi Ventures is designed to invest catalytic capital to scale companies providing clean, affordable, and efficient energy to East Africa’s low-income populations that for too long have lived without access to electricity. The $67 million fund maintains Acumen’s impact-focused approach to investing but aims to deliver ambitious market-competitive returns by making larger, more significant investments in high-growth companies with proven business models. KawiSafi specifically looks to fill critical market gaps to create a sustainable off-grid ecosystem and commits to measuring its impact, in terms of individuals reached (by income levels) as well as tons of carbon displaced.
The mission of KawiSafi Ventures is to create a seismic shift in off-grid energy by building scalable solutions that demonstrate a better way to electrify Africa, ultimately helping the UN’s efforts to realize Sustainable Development Goal #7 (Universal Energy Access). The fund’s investments are currently focused primarily in Kenya and Rwanda given the countries’ commitment to this goal.
KawiSafi Ventures is managed by Acumen Capital Partners, a wholly owned subsidiary of Acumen. Its Managing Director Amar Inamdar brings decades of experience in energy, working in frontier markets; and its Nairobi-based team has more than 50 years of combined operational and investment experience, adding to portfolio value through its active, hands-on support.