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The new EUR 16 million funding round for clean cooking companies in Sub-Saharan Africa opens today

The Modern Cooking Facility for Africa (MCFA) is today opening its second funding round to support access to and scale-up of high-technology clean cooking solutions in seven Sub-Saharan African countries.

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MCFA is launching its second Call for Proposals, inviting interested private companies selling modern and clean cooking solutions to compete for funding. MCFA offers a combination of results-based financing, non-reimbursable catalytic grant financing and technical assistance to companies active in the clean cooking market to support them to further expand and scale up their businesses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“To answer the demand for much-needed financial support in the clean cooking sector, we are launching our second funding round. The new Call for Proposals has been tailored to better meet the needs of companies operating in the sector. Together with our funded companies, donors and partners, our aim is to accelerate the creation of long-term sustainable markets in Sub-Saharan Africa to support access to clean and modern cooking solutions for 4 million people,” comments Heli Sinkko, Programme Manager at Nefco.

The new MCFA funding round will be divided into two funding windows combining results-based financing and catalytic grant financing. The total available funding for both windows will be up to EUR 16 million and the individual ticket sizes will vary from EUR 500,000 to 2.5 million.

Applicants can be experienced providers of clean cooking services for residential, commercial or institutional use, utilities, mini-grid operators or companies deploying standalone solar systems that could support e-cooking services in conjunction with their main operations.

The Catalytic Funding Window will be targeted at earlier stage companies with scaling potential. Of the requested MCFA financing within this window, 50% will be provided in the form of non-reimbursable catalytic grants and available to companies in the DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Scale-up Funding Window will be open to more mature companies in all project countries under terms similar to those of the first MCFA funding round, but with Malawi introduced as a new target country. This window will provide up to 30% of available funding in the form of non-reimbursable catalytic grants and the rest as results-based financing.

The new funding round will continue to support only higher-tier cooking solutions, including electric cookstoves and cookstoves that use sustainably produced solid and liquid biofuels or biogas solutions.

Lack of clean cooking solutions is a global challenge and one of the key sectors in Africa for accelerating the green energy transition. Globally, some 2.3 billion people lack access to clean cooking, of which some 900 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa. In most of the MCFA target countries, the current access rate to clean cooking is less than 20%.

The application process:

The application process is divided into two stages: a Pre-Qualification stage and a Final Application stage.

During the Pre-Qualification stage, Applicants are asked to provide limited information related to certain eligibility criteria as well as plans on how the funding will be used. Applicants passing the Pre-Qualification stage will be invited to the Final Application stage and asked to submit full business plans, which will be evaluated and scored by an external evaluation committee appointed by Nefco, the Facility Manager.

Companies contracted or currently undergoing contracting under the first funding round (MCFA1) are not eligible to receive funding under the new funding round (MCFA2) for the same Project Country. In other words, a previously successful Applicant can only receive funding in another MCFA Project Country under this new Call for Proposals.

The funding round is open for applications through the online application system. The application forms (in the system) will be available at 16:00 Helsinki time (EET) on 29 November 2023. The deadline for submitting applications is 31 January 2024 at 12:00 (noon) Helsinki time (EET).

Applicants are requested to send any questions regarding the call and application process through the online application system at the latest by 12 January 2024 at 12:00 (noon) Helsinki time (EET). Questions and answers will be made available to all registered Applicants in an anonymised and redacted form via the online application system by 19 January 2024.

Applicants will be notified of the Pre-Qualification stage outcome via the online application system in February 2024.

For further information about the Call for Proposals:

Visit www.moderncooking.africa and register for the online system to apply for funding.

Read more about the application process at www.moderncooking.africa/apply and download the Application Guidelines for more information on the application process and eligibility criteria.

For further information, please contact:

Heli Sinkko, Programme Manager of Modern Cooking Facility for Africa, Nefco
Heli.Sinkko@nefco.int, +358 10 6180 659

Emma Yrjölä, Programme Officer of Modern Cooking Facility for Africa, Nefco
Emma.yrjola@nefco.int, +358 106180826

About MCFA

The Modern Cooking Facility for Africa is a multi-donor facility established and managed by Nefco – the Nordic Green Bank – with the aim to support the development of new markets for the clean cooking sector and accelerate access to high technology, modern and affordable cooking equipment for consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa. It combines results-based financing with catalytic grant financing to companies active in the clean cooking market to grow and scale up their businesses in the programme countries.

The facility finances projects in seven countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The overall aim of the MCFA programme is to provide access to clean cooking solutions for up to 4 million Africans. The current EUR 61.5 million MCFA programme was announced in November 2021 and is funded by Sweden, Norway, and the European Union; it forms part of the Global Gateway initiative, a new European strategy to boost smart and clean projects that combine public and private financing. Read more at www.moderncooking.africa

About Nefco

Nefco – the Nordic Green Bank – is an international financial institution based in Helsinki, Finland, owned by the five Nordic countries, focusing on environmental and climate investments and working with concrete actions to accelerate the green transition. Nefco also manages external funds in the climate and energy space. It is accredited by the European Union and the Green Climate Fund and is the Facility Manager for the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa, a EUR 126-million multi-donor results-based financing facility funded by Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden and USAID. Read more on www.nefco.int

Photo: Woman in Zambia using a clean cookstove – Jason Mulikita for MCFA

Published: November 29, 2023
Reading time 6 minutes
  • clean cooking solutions
  • MCFA2
  • Modern Cooking Facility for Africa
  • new financing round
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

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