It’s an open secret that very few mini-grid companies in Africa have managed to scale up, expand widely, and become profitable. But mini-grids also work really, really well for the communities they serve, the AgriGrid concept re-imagines the thinking behind what a mini-grid business is — rather than being a seller-of-energy, the AgriGrid positions mini-grids as a way to create rural wealth.
Without more economic wealth, business stays stagnant for the mini-grid company. When business stagnates, all of the good things that electricity can do for a community doesn’t happen. However, that doesn’t mean we should stop developing mini-grids, it just means it’s time to innovate and improve.
The AgriGrid concept combines two very different types of business into one — it imagines an agribusiness that can generate long-term agricultural income for a community, and a mini-grid business that can power agricultural infrastructure as well as households, micro-enterprises, and community infrastructure. Creating wealth for communities through agriculture helps mini-grid companies while increasing the positive developmental impacts of mini-grids.
AgriGrid is a business model concept for next-generation mini-grids in Africa. This document introduces the concept, provides a case study, and provides conclusions/next steps.
Camille André-Bataille, CEO of ANKA Madagascar, asks: What if a model combining agricultural development and energy access could help move this industry from “selling rural electrons” to “creating rural wealth”?