U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and Shell Foundation sign MOU expansion to support distributed renewable energy solutions in emerging markets

Mini grid in Africa
  • Initial collaboration exceeded deployment targets within two years. 
  • Partnership demonstrates how philanthropic and development finance institutions can align to enable faster deployment of capital into impact sectors. 
  • Expansion will support several distributed renewable energy (DRE) areas including energy for households and local enterprises, e-mobility, and climate-smart agri-tech. 
  • Specific focus on local representation and consideration for gender inclusion. 

commercial capital into emerging markets DRE solutionS

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Shell Foundation, the U.K.-registered charity supporting energy access market solutions in Africa and South Asia, have signed an MOU expansion intended to increase the flow of commercial capital into DRE solutions in emerging markets.  

DFC and Shell Foundation entered an MOU in 2021 with the aim of deploying $150 million into emerging market DRE solutions. Since then, the two organisations have established a strong working relationship and surpassed the expected total of capital deployed in less than two years.   

The partnership has demonstrated the ability of philanthropic and development finance capital to work effectively together. This was done by leveraging Shell Foundation’s risk-tolerant capital and on-the-ground market knowledge alongside DFC to enable successful and earlier deployment of capital into high-impact businesses.   

Greater impact for the DRE sector

The ongoing partnership will continue to build on the strong working relationships, processes, and institutional knowledge to help drive greater impact for the DRE sector. Highlights of the collaboration to date include: 

  • DFC’s $40 million commitment to the Shell Foundation-seeded Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund. 
  • Shell Foundation’s $3 million investment into the Mirova SunFunder Gigaton Fund, alongside DFC’s $100 million commitment.   
  • DFC’s debt capital commitment of $8.9 million to India-based S4S Technologies for a gender-inclusive, climate-resilience project alongside $1.5 million of Shell Foundation de-risking capital.   
  • Collaboration on an innovative gender outcomes pilot with Shell Foundation and DFC clean mobility clients Ampersand and RevFin. 

The MOU expansion is intended to substantially increase the flow of commercial capital into several focus areas within the DRE sector that align with DFC’s strategic priorities and Shell Foundation’s charitable objectives, including household energy, energy for mobility, and climate-focused agri-tech. 

Increased efforts for diverse and inclusive approaches

DFC and Shell Foundation have prioritised finding ways to promote greater investment in enterprises based in local countries. This is complemented by increased efforts for diverse and inclusive approaches to invest in and support improved outcomes for women clients in their respective portfolios. The MOU expansion reflects  the intention to scale the results of this workstream so that it comprises the bedrock of multiple investments directly into enterprises and indirectly through funds and financial intermediaries. 

“Successful working partnerships such as the one between Shell Foundation and DFC are critical to achieving a just and inclusive energy transition,” says Jonathan Berman, Shell Foundation CEO. “The success of the initial MOU and the potential within this expansion are reflections of the two organisations’ alignment in strategy, understanding of respective risk profiles, and joint commitment to

Jonathan Berman, Shell Foundation CEO and Aparna Shrivastava, DFC Deputy Chief Climate Officer signing the MOU expansion

 support income-generating energy solutions that can impact millions of underserved customers across Africa and South Asia.”

“DFC is proud to grow the longstanding partnership with Shell Foundation to expand our collective support for critical renewable energy solutions across emerging markets,” says Aparna Shrivastava, DFC Deputy Chief Climate Officer. “DFC and Shell Foundation’s partnership encompasses a diverse and inclusive portfolio of clients and communities across the globe, and we are excited to see that footprint continue to grow. No one government or group of governments alone can bridge the climate financing gap to reach those in need in emerging markets – that’s why partnerships like this are essential.”

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About DFC

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. We invest across sectors including energy, healthcare, infrastructure, agriculture, and small business and financial services. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights. DFC | Investing in Development

About Shell Foundation

Shell Foundation is an endowed, U.K.-registered charity that catalyses clean energy innovation and unlocks inclusive investments in Africa and India, empowering millions of underserved customers – of which half are women – to earn a living income.