The sustainable progress potential of partnership-driven business models

A Case Study on P4G - a forum for developing concrete public-private partnerships at scale to deliver on the SDGs- and their partnership with Africa GreenCo to transform the renewable energy sector.

Published: 3 Dec 2020
Author: Sarbinder Singh & Ana Hajduka
Type: Insight

In October, the World Resources Institute launched a landmark new report, “A Time for Transformative Partnerships” that outlines success factors critical to the growth and implementation of multistakeholder partnerships driving progress on the SDGs.

The report findings draw from interviews with 41 multistakeholder partnerships – many of which have been funded, accelerated, and recognized by P4G – and three dozen government experts, business sustainability leaders, and civil society leaders; as well as contributions from the P4G Hub Team and global network, the Global Green Growth Institute, and the World Economic Forum.

Africa GreenCo (GreenCo), which has received two rounds of P4G funding totaling $1.6 million in investment, is a success story that illustrates the impact potential of partnership-driven business models, especially as they incorporate and pursue the success factors outlined in the WRI Report. The partnership aims to increase private-sector investment in clean energy in sub-Saharan Africa by acting as a creditworthy intermediary to create a more dynamic power market in the region.

Earlier this month, GreenCo announced the investment of USD 1.5m by Denmark’s Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) and Private Infrastructure Development Group’s InfraCo Africa (InfraCo). This investment completes the partnership’s operationalization in Zambia, with the intent to subsequently spread throughout the sub-Saharan region. Here’s how they got there, as outlined through some of the WRI report’s success factors:

1: A clear articulation of the system of interest

GreenCo, the lead on the partnership, came together with its partners from the Government of Zambia, Agence Française de Développement, Development Bank of Southern Africa, the European Commission, the Green Climate Fund, IFU, InfraCo Africa, and The Rockefeller Foundation to ensure an alignment of private sector investment and innovation and public sector policymaking in its pursuit of affordable, accessible and renewable energy.

Since its first round of P4G funding in 2018, GreenCo team members have regularly met with the P4G Hub to clarify and strengthen its model; and identify the markets where the partnership has the highest potential for initial impact and success.  These regular advisory meetings helped contribute to the partnership’s early success – indicated through a $45 million guarantee from its partner, Agence Française de Développement, in early 2019.

2: Jointly agreed upon transformation vision and near-term goals

P4G followed its venture capital approach to achieve this outcome.  After the initial step of originating the partnership and investing in the partnership through two rounds of funding, P4G mobilized its ecosystem to engage with policymakers in Zambia to approve the business model. Through P4G investment and advisory support, GreenCo has aligned stakeholders across African power systems, from developers and investors to national governments, to define and align on a partnership vision and goals. Through an iterative and participatory process, GreenCo developed a master vision and goals document that captures the partnership strategy.  Updating this document regularly enables partnership stakeholders to stay focused and aligned even as market conditions change.

3: Capacity to engage stakeholders external to the partnership.

P4G has helped raise the visibility and credibility of the partnership through global events including P4G Copenhagen Summit in 2018 and an event on the sidelines of UNGA in New York in 2019. This focused approach of unlocking investments for impact ultimately led to an initial investment from Denmark’s Investment Fund for Developing Countries and PIDG’s InfraCo Africa to operationalize the GreenCo business model. The partnership is expected to unlock bilateral buy-sell electricity trade transactions in the immediate term involving existing generating stations and will unlock investment in greenfield renewable energy projects over the next year.  

Together, these factors have enabled GreenCo to begin transforming the renewable energy sector in Africa – and build a sustainable new business model with systemic impacts across the region.

This article was originally published by Impakter

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