As reported by off-solar industry body GOGLA, Western Africa secured $142 million of investment in 2020, while the traditional off-grid investor magnet in the east secured $70 million. Investment remained steady despite the Covid-19 pandemic, however there have been rising proportions of debt and grant funding as equity investment fell by 46 per cent from 2019. However, total off-grid investment figures rose slightly, from $312 million in 2019 to $316 million last year.
Due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, it was noted that there were fewer company acquisitions than in 2019, while the number of equity investments rose from 17 to 28. The reduction in acquisitions was mainly due to the inability to perform on-the-ground due diligence before investing. In terms of loans, GOGLA said early-stage companies seem to have low diversity of funders to choose from and debt shows the highest investment concentration on the top deals compared to the rest of the instruments. Crowdfunding appears to have stabilized at around 10 per cent of debt funding.
There are certainly positive signs when it came to the diversity of funding sources; the top 10 deals accrued for 68 per cent of total investment in 2020, down from 90 per cent last year, and the figure for the top three deals declined from 56 per cent to 41 per cent. The average size of investment also declined from $2.3 million to $1.62 million and given the smaller demands of seed investments, it is unclear whether this is a negative sign.