U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea announced the launch of a $20 million Solar & Renewable Energy Fund at an event in the presence of Minister of Industry George Bouchikian, Minister of Energy and Water Dr Walid Fayad, Minister of Environment Dr Nasser Yassin, USAID Lebanon Acting Mission Director Nicholas Vivio, investors, and local enterprises. The fund, created by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) Activity and Lebanon Investment Initiative (LII), will unlock private sector investments to finance the cost of solar panel installations for Lebanese entities.
“This fund is not our first intervention in response to Lebanon’s energy crisis, and it will not be the last. Since 2012, the United States Government, through USAID, has been providing affordable and renewable back-up electricity to homes and businesses,” said U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Shea. “We are confident that Lebanese businesses and investors will see this opportunity as a chance to capitalize on the energy fund to support Lebanon’s economy, the viability of domestic businesses, the jobs of hundreds of Lebanese, and their belief in a cleaner and more productive tomorrow,” she added.
“This fund is the first seed to help catalyze clean and sustainable energy financing in Lebanon,” said Mark Rostal, the TIF project’s Chief of Party. “We hope this initiative will draw in more investment in renewable energy in Lebanon, and consequently support the recovery and relaunch of Lebanese businesses that have long suffered, risked closure and layoffs due to the prolonged energy crisis.”
USAID, through TIF and LII, committed $4 million in seed funding and $500,000 to structure the fund. With investors pitching in, the fund will raise up to $20 million.
Securing investment for renewable energy through the Solar & Renewable Energy Fund will sustain production operations for SMEs in need, thus increasing their export capacity, which in turn positions Lebanon as an important export hub. Moreover, the fund will also support the livelihoods of households by sustaining the jobs of those working in affected institutions. Up to 25 entities will benefit from the Solar & Renewable Energy Fund in the first round of funding opportunities.
“The current situation calls for measures, and this is where we come into play. With the support of USAID, Berytech along with IM Ventures are committed to creating sustainable ways of living,” said Maroun N. Chammas, President of Berytech Foundation. “Now, the starting point is to implement the Solar & Renewable Energy Fund which will provide Lebanese companies with power supply at a lower cost, increasing energy efficiency,” he added.
USAID is committed to helping Lebanon power its businesses and economy by accelerating transition to widely accessible, affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy via private investment, while meeting international climate commitments.
About the USAID-funded TIF activity:
USAID’s TIF activity is designed to enhance economic opportunities in Lebanon by facilitating trade and investment in targeted business sectors, resulting in job creation and increased incomes for Lebanese citizens, with a strong emphasis on exports and enhancing women’s workforce participation.
TIF works towards increasing the exports of Lebanese goods and services, facilitating investment opportunities, and improving the business and investment enabling environment (BIEE) in Lebanon.
About the USAID-funded LII activity:
USAID’s LII activity is implemented through a fully owned subsidiary holding firm, IM Ventures. The latter works in partnership with business incubators, business accelerators, business angels, venture capital and private equity funds to co-fund or partially ensure their investments, and provide needed technical support, to a broad spectrum of businesses ranging from seed stage to growth phase. IM Ventures’ strategy focuses on providing and leveraging investment capital, scaling up successful investment strategies, building networks of investors, offering technical support, strategic guidance, and mentoring.
For more info, kindly visit www.im-fndng.com