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Acumen Fund to invest Rs86m in energy sector

Acumen, a pioneering non-profit global venture firm addressing poverty across Africa and South Asia, has announced its first investment in the growing rural energy sector of Pakistan, a statement said.

Acumen is giving a loan of Rs86 million to Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) to support the creation of four community-managed micro hydel units in Chitral, it said.These plants would provide 24 hours clean electricity to remote off-grid communities in Chitral district, a region with limited access to electricity.

“There is a growing need for reliable power in Pakistan’s rural communities right now,” said Farrukh Khan, country director for Pakistan, Acumen Fund.“AKRSP’s community-based model has the potential to provide millions with access to an important basic service.”

Acumen Fund and AKRSP have joined hands to address the pressing energy needs to isolated rural communities in Chitral who are currently not connected to the national grid.

Households living in the off-grid villages rely heavily on fuel wood and fossil fuels to meet their daily energy needs, thus, adding to the environmental fragility. Innovative private and community-based models of energy generation from clean sources can help address the energy crisis in such regions, the statement said.

“We work very closely with the local communities to generate energy that is clean, affordable and reliable. The ultimate objective is to improve the quality of life of local communities by making energy available for small-scale commercial and household uses without burdening precious natural resources such as forests,” Abdul Malik, chief executive officer of AKRSP, said.

“Acumen Fund’s investment will help local communities overcome the capital constraints and combine their own resources to provide reliable electricity to thousands of their members,” he added.

The investment in four micro hydel units will provide an opportunity to test and demonstrate the viability of investments in off-grid community-based models, paving the way for scaling up through replication.

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