Reeep Annual
Report 2022
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Southern African Renewable Energy Investment and Growth Programme (SOARING)

Productive Use of Energy (PUE) is one of the most relevant challenges in agricultural value chains to improve smallholder farmers livelihoods and increase the resilience to climate change contributing to GHG emissions reduction.

The Challenge

The agricultural sector still plays a major role in Southern African economies, representing up to 27% of GDP and 13% of export earnings. Southern African countries face a considerable challenge in financing their climate change mitigation and adaptation plans. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of Southern African economies, in the renewable energy and agricultural sectors however SMEs are facing substantial challenges in accessing finance through financial institutions locally.

Local development and commercial banks are increasingly gaining access to climate/green funds but are lacking the capacity and tools to build an investment pipeline to finance SMEs in these fields.

SOARING is currently focusing on two African countries:

  1. Tanzania
  2. Zambia

Our Solution

To overcome these market barriers, REEEP, in partnership with RENAC, is implementing the Southern African Renewable Energy Investment and Growth Programme (SOARING) programme, which is taking a prototype approach to enable SMEs working with clean energy and productive use technologies leveraging renewable energies to access finance from the local financial sector.

Market scoping studies were completed in 2020 in Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia, which confirmed that while the combined financing requirements of Southern African SMEs are huge, their individual asks are far too small for existing climate finance instruments and for most investors that require large ticket sizes. At the same time, SOARING identified existing concessional credit lines earmarked to energy access that have been untapped by local financial institutions for years.

The conclusion of the market scoping exercise also indicated that there was an opportunity to (i) focus the programme on Zambia and Tanzania, mainly due to the size of the markets and the absence of suitable local finance to the target sector, and (ii) use blended finance instruments and green finance tools to unlock local currency financing to the sector via the existing infrastructure of national development banks and local financial institutions (participating LFIs), which provide the required penetration and capillarity to reach green SMEs and their end customers.

The SOARING programme is taking an ecosystem approach and is focusing on Tanzania and Zambia. The main pillars of SOARING consist of the following activities and interventions:

  1. Credit Enhancement Facility to de-risk “First mover” Financial Institutions and enable Project Developers to meet over-collateralization requirements.
  2. Climate Finance Capacity Building to improve renewable energy sector knowledge of financial institution’ stakeholders and to co-design risk assessment methodologies and market-fit financial solutions.
  3. Pipeline Origination and Development to match demand of renewable energy SMEs with supply of climate funds from local financial institutions.
  4. Platforms for Market Change for institutionalized stakeholder engagement on renewable energy finance.


With SOARING, REEEP and its partners are simultaneously supporting (a) SMEs to provide clean energy solutions in rural areas and for agricultural value chains, (b) countries to advance the NDC targets by displacing fossil fuels, and (c) rural communities through improved resilience with access to clean and reliable energy.

The learnings from this pilot will be published under a ‘Renewable Energy Financing Pathway’ report, which will facilitate replication of the programmes’ achievements in other sectors and countries.

Donors and partners

SOARING is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and implemented by REEEP in cooperation with the Renewables Academy (RENAC).