Altech awarded $1.5M to provide affordable energy solutions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Author(s):

Categories: News Release

CAD $1.5 million from the Humanitarian Grand Challenge directed to improve access to clean, affordable energy in conflict-affected areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kinshasa, July 12, 2022 – The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), while the 11th largest country in the world, has one of the lowest rates of electrification. Of the nearly 10 million households in DRC, only about 1.6 million have access to electricity. This makes it the third largest energy impoverished population in the world. Challenges in access to electricity are further compounded by longstanding humanitarian crises and ongoing intercommunal violence.

To help tackle the challenge of electrification, Altech, the DR Congo’s market leader in the distribution of world-class clean energy products and services, are deepening their last-mile distribution efforts to provide clean, affordable energy for conflict-affected people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With $1.5 million from Creating Hope in Conflict: a Humanitarian Grand Challenge, Altech will improve access to clean energy while creating systemic change by creating employment opportunities, economic prosperity, and access to finance. Under the partnership, Altech will reach eight UNHCR-recognized conflict zones in Eastern DR Congo, opening 34 sales outlets and 55 points of sales. Across these new areas, Altech will distribute 30,000 solar lanterns and 12,700 solar lighting solutions, positively affecting the lives of over 220,000 hardest to reach people, all while creating local job opportunities by setting up three local assembly lines in Lubumbashi, Bukavu, and Aru.

The local assembly line will significantly reduce the risk of stockouts, long delivery time, and high shipping costs, thereby enabling Altech to build more autonomous operations. These efforts will drive development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by reducing the price for the end consumer, growing the local labor force, and triggering a structural market transformation. Responding to the acute shortage of access to clean energy in the DR Congo, due to ongoing conflict, Altech’s locally-rooted approach takes on the challenges of energy poverty with affected community members, providing solutions from the Congolese, for the Congolese, and by the Congolese. By working directly with the community in the region, over two hundred thousand conflict-affected people will be provided with access to clean energy.

“The Democratic Republic of the Congo houses one of Africa’s most complex and long-standing humanitarian crises. The vast majority of the population – an estimated 64% – are considered extremely poor, and as a result lack access to clean and affordable energy. I know firsthand what it is like to live without light and power. When I was a kid we lived in a poor rural house and my parents often had no money for kerosene. These experiences are the source of my motivation to help improve daily life in Congo. This is the challenge Altech aim to solve. Since we established Altech in 2012, we have built the most profitable, impactful PAYGo solar business in the DR Congo. With support from Creating Hope in Conflict: a Humanitarian Grand Challenge, we are able to geographically expand to over 130 sales shops, as the only PAYGo company in the DR Congo with national reach, addressing the energy deficit in the country,” said Malango Washikala, co-founder and co-CEO of Altech.

Humanitarian crises caused by conflict, as well as the impacts of COVID-19 has made basic access to clean energy and electricity unaffordable and inaccessible for many. 90 per cent of Congolese people lack access to electricity. As a locally-driven and operated company, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Altech has a deep understanding of the challenges of operating successfully in conflict zones. The firm created over 60% of sales in one of the UNHCR-identified Internally Displaced People and refugee zones in the DR Congo and ran several electrification projects in refugee camps. The Humanitarian Grand Challenge sources, supports, and scales up humanitarian innovations to help conflict-affected people. With support from the Humanitarian Grand Challenge, locally-driven company Altech will continue to address the energy deficit in the DR Congo, through their bold operations; utilizing the latest technology, strong partnerships, proven methodology, and innovative revenue stream mechanisms that complement the local context and demand profile to expand access to clean, reliable, renewable and affordable energy for conflict-affected people.

 

About Creating Hope in Conflict: a Humanitarian Grand Challenge

Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge is a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Global Affairs Canada, with support from Grand Challenges Canada. Partners have contributed USD$32.5 million for the Humanitarian Grand Challenge, which was launched in 2018 to enable local organizations, humanitarian agencies, and the private sector to work alongside affected communities to respond more nimbly to complex emergencies, address the unprecedented magnitude of suffering around the world, and empower people to create better lives for themselves. This challenge seeks to fund and accelerate solutions that enable life-improving assistance to reach the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people in conflict-generated humanitarian crises.

 

About Altech

Altech’s co-founders Malango Washikala and Iongwa Mashangao had lived the problem first-hand by being born in poor off-grid households and growing up in refugee settlements for over ten years. They returned in 2012 to build the most profitable, and impactful PAYGo solar business in the DRC. Altech´s management created a business philosophy based on deep market knowledge and a unique understanding of customers’ needs, which enabled the firm to distribute over 270,000 solar products positively impacting 1,350,000 lives. The geographical expansion will take Altech´s sales presence to over 130 sales shops, consolidating the firm’s leading position as the only PAYGo company in the DRC with national reach.

 

-30-

 

For more information, please contact:

Zeba Tasci, Associate Communications Officer

Humanitarian Grand Challenge

zeba.tasci@grandchallenges.ca