Reliable electricity access is essential for health and prosperity. Yet, this indispensable service remains out of reach for about 759 million people globally, 600 million of whom are in Africa. Mini-grid systems can efficiently deliver energy to cities and rural areas outside the limits of a national grid. Powered primarily by renewable sources, mini-grids offer an effective way to provide low-cost, reliable, and clean energy to communities that are out of reach of existing power grids. Mini-grids are practical, reliable, and poised to grow. By 2030, nearly half a billion people around the world could be using electricity from mini-grids.

Scaling Mini-Grid (SMG), a new World Bank Group initiative, seeks to increase private investment in mini-grid services by working with governments, private sector investors and donors to find solutions to the remaining challenges in the sector. In many of the emerging market economies where mini-grids would be most effective, appropriate regulatory frameworks are limited and the market is fragmented. The lack of stable public-private partnership (PPP) frameworks, as well as limited institutional capacities, can make it hard to plan and develop bankable projects. Combined with demand, currency and political risks, these factors translate into high perceived investment risks. Under the Scaling Mini-Grid program, members of the World Bank Group seek to overcome these challenges by offering financing and advisory support as well as investment and risk mitigation instruments for governments and the private sector. The Scaling Mini-Grid program helps clients ensure timely completion of projects which can expand access to clean, and affordable electricity services.