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Isle Utilities

  • LocationSub-Saharan Africa
  • SectorWater
  • Type of investmentGrant
  • Project stagePilot

A $178k grant to Isle Utilities to pilot a technology innovation platform that will bring together promising water technology innovations with Africa’s largest water utilities to solve common delivery challenges.

Isle Utilities

The development challenge.

According to UN data, more than 600 million people globally are still without improved drinking water sources, and 1.8 billion people use a source of water that is faecally contaminated. Additionally, more than 80% of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal. While improvements have been made in the last two decades, clean water access for all remains a critical issue as well as a priority UN Sustainable Development Goal.

The innovation.

By introducing a market linkage innovation in Africa for water utilities, technology providers, and regulators to convene, Isle Utilities hopes to introduce transformative water technologies to the provision of water utilities.

In the medium term, the goal is for water utilities to adopt some of these technologies, and use them to deliver wide-scale impact to beneficiaries in Africa, many of whom live on <$5/day. In the longer term, the technology innovation platform model will aim to drive lasting impact to millions.

While this unique, sector specific market linkage innovation has largely been tested in the developed world (excepting a pilot in Brazil a few years ago), Isle Utilities now seeks to pilot the TAG model in Africa.

Investment objective(s).

Pilot the TAG model in Africa, including financing for an initial scoping work to identify relevant water technology providers and water utility customers, to test the TAG model within the African context.

Why we invested

Lack of access to clean drinking water is a pressing issue amongst GIF’s target and remains a priority Sustainable Development Goal by the UN.

Market linkage opportunity gives a broader platform for key stakeholders to get access to multiple impactful water technologies in one setting.

Potential for a highly-leveraged investment that is diversified and de-risked because it facilitates many innovations and many utilities, therefore, there are higher chances of one or more positive innovations being adopted and scaled.  Thus, our small investment, and leveraging IFC’s financial contribution, could lead to delivering an outsized impact.

Water sector specific model has not been tried in Africa and would be improving on lessons from the TAG Brazil pilot, the only other developing country pilot.

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