Green Finance "Deal of the year 2020" by The Banker



Renewable energy in rural areas for over 100,000 Ivorian households

ZECI is a joint venture which, since the end of 2016, has been selling solar kits in Côte d'Ivoire to supply electricity to households in the areas least served by the national electricity networks. These kits, including solar panels backed by batteries to store electricity, are sold in the form of a lease contract with monthly prepayments over 36 months by mobile money.

Societe Generale, through its Grow with Africa initiative, is committed to supporting energy inclusion, including in unconnected rural areas. It is in this context that Societe Generale Corporate and Investment Banking, Société Générale Côte d'Ivoire (SGCI) through the Structured Financing platform for Sub-Saharan Africa (SFG AFS), and Crédit Agricole CIB (CACIB) organised a transaction of 18 million euros in favor of Neot Côte d'Ivoire (Neot CI*) in order to finance in the form of securitization the repurchase of receivables arising from the marketing of solar kits by ZECI. The loan is fully funded by SGCI, which is guaranteed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and CACIB.

"Due to its complexity and highly innovative nature, this transaction constitutes the first large-scale financing structure in local currency using a securitization-type technique for the off-grid renewable energy sector in Africa" tells Jerôme Farges Global Head Corporate Securitization for Societe Generale.

"This transaction illustrates once again the strength of Societe Generale synergies which have made it possible to put innovative engineering at the service of Ivorian rural development by increasing the financing capacities of this player in off-grid electrification. This fully fits into the Group's purpose" adds Aymeric Villebrun, CEO of SGCI.

Awarded "Deal of the year 2020" in Green Finance by The Banker, this project provides access to electricity to more than 100,000 households in rural areas of Côte d'Ivoire and thereby improves their living conditions. Indeed, thanks to these kits, customers can light up and power a set of low-consumption household appliances such as a television, radio, fan or even a mobile phone charger. Using a renewable energy source such as solar energy is ecologically essential and allows the replacement of candles, paraffin and kerosene.

Finally, with the use of mobile payments for the prepayment of kits, the project also promotes financial inclusion in rural areas and Neot CI has signed, as such, a contract with YUP Côte d'Ivoire.


*Neot CI is a financing vehicle owned by NEoT Off-Grid Africa, a platform dedicated to investment in off-grid projects in Africa, majority owned by the Meridiam infrastructure fund and managed by NEoT Capital. It will buy back the solar kit contracts already distributed by ZECI and finance the new contracts as and when they are signed.