By Manuela Böck
Head of Finance, Altech Group
Altech is a solar business dedicated to bringing clean and affordable energy to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
There are 70 million people (about twice the population of California) living without electricity in DRC, accounting for 10% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s off-grid population.
The company was founded in 2013 by Malango Washikala and longwa Mashangao who grew up living in displaced, off-grid communities after fleeing civil war. They now offer a wide range of clean energy solutions including solar lanterns, lighting solutions, solar home systems and appliances and efficient cookstoves.
Altech provides electricity for thousands of people and, to date, have positively impacted the lives of more than 1.7 million Congolese and provided over 350,000 off-grid solar energy products. The company successfully operates in conflict zones and runs several electrification projects in refugee camps improving the dire situation through electrification and the creation of employment opportunities.
It also employs 4,300 people across DRC, providing much-needed secure jobs, alongside inclusive training, for marginalised groups.
Altech has been supported by Power Up coalition member Energise Africa’s crowdfunding platform which enables anyone to invest in solar businesses and other climate solutions in emerging economies.
The money raised helps scale up the work to fight climate change, reduce poverty, provide affordable clean energy and improve health and wellbeing.
longwa Mashangao, Altech co-founder, said: “The incredible support from Energise Africa in the form of affordable financing is one of the main pillars that have enabled Altech Group to become the DRC’s largest and most impactful energy company of its kind. We have significantly improved the lives of thousands of Congolese off-grid households now connected to modern, clean, reliable, affordable solar solutions and for thousands of green jobs created for the Congolese youth.”
GOGLA, the off-grid trade association and Power Up coalition member, published impact metrics showing that households benefiting from Altech’s products have reduced their monthly kerosene purchases by 61%, have saved an estimated $50 million in energy costs and helped avoid over 400,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
A recent study found that twice as many women as men reported improved financial well-being and more leisure time as a result of owning Altech solar energy products. Other benefits include access to information through radio and television and broader impacts such as improved nutrition, quality of lifestyle and home security.
Altech has raised £2.5 million from six investment raises on Energise Africa via investment bond offers and made £750,000 in repayments to investors so far with the bonds targeting returns of 7.5%. Please note that past performance is not indicative of future results.
Lisa Ashford, Energise Africa CEO, added: “We are very proud of the role that Energise Africa investors have played in the ongoing growth of the excellent home-grown success story, Altech. By providing affordable capital in the form of investments, they have positively impacted thousands of lives and played a vital part in the fight against climate change. We look forward to what the future brings for Altech and advancing our joint mission towards achieving clean energy access for all.”
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