With ten years left to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 2020s have been called the decade of delivery. As a key driver of sustainable development, access to clean, renewable energy is crucial for realizing not only the SDGs but also the core promise of the 2030 agenda to leave no one behind.
At the current pace of electrification, however, half a billion people – primarily living in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel – will still be unserved in 2030. The urgency of the challenge and the need to obtain long-term results that truly fulfil the promise of leaving no one behind, means we must step up our efforts.
As a pioneer in bringing off-grid solar energy solutions to rural Africa, FRES proves it can be done. Even in the most challenging areas that are at greatest risk of being left behind, FRES has become a trusted supplier of solar energy to businesses, communities and households.
Central to our success is our belief in local entrepreneurship. FRES establishes commercial electricity companies under local management that gradually extend their reach from village to village and district to district. Our aim is for our companies to become financially sustainable in the long term. Expenses are kept to a minimum, and any profits our
companies generate are reinvested locally to support relevant expansion and finance future asset replacements without subsidies. This proven growth strategy and our ‘boots on the ground’ approach set us apart and allow us to combine affordable premium technology with ongoing professional maintenance.
From a single company in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa in 1999 that recently became self-reliant, we have replicated and further developed our model in Mali, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Guiné-Bissau. Building on this 20-year track record, we are currently gearing up to add new countries to our network. We are looking for partners and donors to support and accelerate our work.