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Press Release

Convergence design grant to support rural energy access and gender inclusivity in Nigeria

Toronto, 30 November 2023 - Convergence awarded a proof-of-concept grant to Prado Power Limited to develop a blended financing solution to enable renewable energy access for rural off-grid communities, benefitting smallholder farmers and women in Nigeria. The grant supports the design and launch of the Gender-Based Smallholder Economic Liberation Project, a $175 million blended fund that invests in mini-grid developers and agriculture technology companies. This grant is awarded through Convergence’s Gender-Responsive Climate Finance Design Funding Window, funded by Global Affairs Canada.

Agriculture is the dominant source of employment in Nigeria with over 70% of the population engaged as smallholder farmers yet much of this population is trapped in poverty. Smallholder farmers in Nigeria often cannot produce quantities commensurate with their efforts. Add to this, about half of all crop yields are lost due to lack of storage facilities and electricity, reducing an already small availability of produce for sale. Women smallholder farmers comprise up to 80% of the entire smallholder workforce in Nigeria and are especially affected by financial precarity. Patrilineal and cultural statutes prevent this group from owning or accessing profitable assets such as farmland and equipment.

Women in Nigeria engaged in agriculture are mostly confined to strenuous manual labour activities that yield very low economic return. Broadly, women in rural Africa also face challenges in access to education, training extension activities and information.

“In Nigeria and most parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, a clear pathway to real economic prosperity is via provision of sustainable energy in tandem with enhancing agricultural productivity through the provision of productive use equipment, capacity building activities and access to markets for the sale of processed agricultural products,” stated Washima Mede, CEO of Prado Power.

“Prado Power is excited to collaborate with Convergence to launch the Gender Based Smallholder Economic Liberation Project to unleash the vast economic potentials of rural off-grid communities by providing constant electricity, creating an enabling environment for residents to live and carry out their businesses sustainably. This will create lasting socio-economic impact and significantly boost the livelihoods of rural dwellers. The structure of the project is also strongly predicated upon gender equality where beneficiaries of capacity-building activities, energy access services and productive use equipment would be equitably distributed.”

The Gender-Based Smallholder Economic Liberation Project will provide debt and equity financing to mini-grid developers and agriculture technology companies operational in Nigeria. While there are several mini-grids operational in Nigeria, they usually fail to reach commercial viability because of (a) low capacity utilization during peak generation periods due to the absence of strong commercial or productive use activity, (b) high cost of project execution and (c) low purchasing power of users.

Prado Power’s innovative model works to maximize electricity use during peak generation periods by providing rural off-grid households with electrical productive use equipment (targeted for use by women smallholder farmers) for use during the daytime. This model leverages the presence of agricultural value chains within the communities to create high commercial and productive activities and enable better earnings for the users. Prado Power is a local Nigerian entity, supported by Farm Warehouse (also a local Nigerian company) for the implementation of the vehicle. While Prado Power will focus on the mini-grid development, Farm Warehouse will provide access to productive use equipment for agriculture processing and storage, farmer mapping, capacity building on agricultural best practices, electric mobility for agricultural produce, and provides farmers access to agricultural produce marketplace.

“Women smallholder farmers in Nigeria, and in so many parts of the world, face development challenges that have only been exacerbated by the effects of climate change,” says Joan Larrea, CEO at Convergence. “Gender-smart investors, take note: by improving rural access to electricity the Gender-Based Smallholder Economic Liberation Project has great potential to boost local economies, uplift women smallholders and create sustainable impact in the region.”

About Prado Power Limited

Prado Power Limited is a distributed renewable energy company registered under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Their mission is to provide affordable cleantech solutions to deliver electricity to off-grid, under-served communities as well as commercial/industrial clients.

Please visit to learn more.

About Convergence’s Design Funding Program
Convergence’s Design Funding program operates as a market acceleration tool providing early-stage capital to support blended finance solutions in frontier markets and nascent sectors to accelerate the number of investible transactions in market targeting SDGs. The Gender-Responsive Climate Finance Window, funded by the Government of Canada, provides grant funding for the design and launch of innovative blended finance solutions focused on the intersection of climate change and gender equality in emerging markets globally. Visit Convergence’s Design Funding page for information on submission deadlines as well as other open windows.

About Convergence
Convergence is the global network for blended finance. On top of market acceleration through its Design Funding program, Convergence generates blended finance data, intelligence, and deal flow to increase private sector investment in developing countries. Convergence’s global membership includes over 160 public, private, and philanthropic investors as well as sponsors of transactions and funds.

Learn more about Convergence:

Media Contact
Karolyn Xie
Head of Communications (interim)
[email protected]

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