Access: New partnership in Mali unlocks clean energy access in rural communities

July 15, 2021

In a world where 760 million people don't have access to electricity and 6.5 million people die from air pollution every year, investments in clean affordable energy in low-income countries is a necessity. Access SA – new partner of Cordaid Investment Management in Mali – contributes to the creation of decent living conditions, climate change mitigation and promotes the growth of small businesses in rural communities.

This SME builds and operates mini-grids in rural areas, providing energy access to communities that don't have any connection to the national grid. Access’s mini-grids are a mixture of solar power and diesel backup which makes them a reliable electricity source for both households and small businesses. In the last 15 years, has become one of the largest developers and operators of mini-grids in the country with the ambition to increase rates of rural electrification and energy generation from renewable sources.

The recent loan from Cordaid Investment Management will be used to complete two ongoing clean energy projects. These involve mini-grid reactivation and hybridization – adding solar generation capacity to diesel mini-grids. These ambitious projects, supported by the World Bank and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), will not only allow the company to grow but also create many jobs and reach small-scale entrepreneurs in the communities.

Under the one project alone, the 10 mini-grids are expected to support 300 microentrepreneurs, and 150 direct jobs will be created during construction. Most of the engineers building the mini-grids are under the age of 30. Access is committed to training youth, encouraging young engineers to get a university degree.

Additionally, Access SA is planning to expand the business by supplying solar home systems to rural populations. It will further increase electrification rates in off-grid communities and create economic opportunities for vulnerable groups. Their employment targets include that 50% of managers and agents will be women, and almost all agents will be youth.

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