The platform for market change was designed to amplify learning between stakeholders in the off-grid energy market and coordinate with relevant stakeholders such as government, donors, financiers and private sector actors to promote synergies and avoid duplication of efforts, provide market information, coordinate capacity and awareness building and meet specific needs of the private sector providing off-grid energy solutions to rural and peri-urban areas in Zambia. With support from REEEP, the platform for market change in Zambia was formalised as the National Off-grid Task Force (OGTF) in February 2018 to provide a focus for coordination and oversight of initiatives designed to raise the profile of the potential of the off-grid sector in Zambia and deliver increased energy access, particularly in rural areas, in line with the objectives of the Zambian Government.
The Task Force aims to ensure that investments – both public and private – achieve transformational change in the lives of the rural populace by expanding access to clean and sustainable energy and growing the markets. It serves as a hub for the exchange and dissemination of experience and information from programme implementation, policy developments and a forum in which participants come together to share information on interventions, opportunities and barriers to market growth. Furthermore, it is action-oriented and helps ensure that the various activities of government and the donor community are properly coordinated and that private sector investments are optimally targeted and structured, to leverage the available resources and increase the growth of the market and promote investment opportunities. The Rural Energy Agency (REA) in Zambia was also supported by REEEP to adopt Edison for programme monitoring and data management as it has increasingly cooperated with the private sector towards increasing energy access. Pilot implementation is now being continued by the Prospect team.
In 2022, the Zambian OGTF serves as a model for the eventual replication of the concept in all countries of operation for the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA), with the implementation partner NIRAS launching the stakeholder engagement activities this year towards structuring similar platforms in Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Mozambique and Uganda. We expect the Zambian government to stand as a role model and be able to share their experience and best practice with peers in other countries in the coming years.