Water & Sanitation

Type of Investment


Investment Stage
Length of Investment

2017 to ?

Investment Overview

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.


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 less than PPP$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 (besides a pilot in Brazil a few years ago), Isle Utilities now seeks to pilot the TAG model in Africa.


Investment Objective

To catalyse capital and fund the company’s expansion in order to tackle multiple constraints in smallholder farming with promising increases to farmer net incomes in an extremely poor region of Nigeria.


Why we invested

Lack of access to clean drinking water is a pressing issue amongst GIF’s target beneficiaries of those living on less than $5 per day 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 go.

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 the creation of an outsized impact.

No water sector-specific model has yet been tried in Africa, and doing so would be improving on lessons from the TAG Brazil pilot, the only other developing country pilot.


TAG Africa in numbers

1.8 billion

People worldwide use a source of water that is faecally contaminated

More than 80%

Of wastewater from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without pollution removal