Nithio is an AI-driven platform for climate finance that seeks to help investors, banks, and grant-makers understand risk in the clean energy sector in order to scale financing across Africa. It aims to catalyze billions of investment dollars to achieve universal energy access and advance climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.
Nearly 600 million people in Africa live without access to electricity and are effectively denied the benefits of the modern economy. To remedy this situation by 2030 would mean connecting 100 million people each year; providing them access to the main grid would require about $17 billion annually. Achieving this goal appears unlikely given that global investment to the sector has hovered around $300 million for the last five years. Indeed, although Africa is the least climate-resilient region in the world, it only receives three percent of global climate finance. Decentralized, renewable energy systems—like mini-grids and solar home systems (SHS)—provide a faster path to household electrification, but companies that produce and sell these systems need financing, too.
Nithio’s platform works to solve this problem by using AI to help investors, local banks, and grant-makers understand household credit risk. It combines demographic information with payments data to create a predictive model designed to show how household attributes indicate different payment patterns; investors who can better predict outcomes will be more likely to invest. In addition, Nithio has a lending arm—Nithio FI—that uses insights from the analytics engine to invest private and institutional capital in vetted, risk-adjusted energy access opportunities. Nithio’s innovative, risk-informed approach enables it to lend to both large, international distributors and smaller, local distributors who provide energy access to last-mile customers. King Philanthropies’ investment in Nithio will solve for a major bottleneck to financing off-grid energy solutions—perceived investor risk due to lack of consumer credit data. Greater clarity will spur investment in renewable energy solutions in Africa, support a just energy transition, and help communities who are most impacted by, but least responsible for, climate change.