Capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed. These are fixed-term bonds and are not readily realisable. Investments are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Learn more.

Investments of this nature carry risk. The key risks associated with investing through this platform are outlined below.

What is the legal status of my investment?

When you choose to invest into a particular project that is listed on the Energise Africa platform you are issued with a bond (or promissory note) by a solar company (the Bond Issuer). These bonds and notes are unsecured and unlisted.  Investment into unsecured bonds, which are not listed on a public market, is riskier than unlisted debentures as there is no tangible property provided as security for investors. By investing in an unsecured bond, you are lending your money to a business, with all the risks that this involves. These include the fact that the Bond Issuer is not subject to stock market requirements to make information affecting the price or value of the investment publicly available, therefore, you cannot choose to sell your bond if you want based on price fluctuations. It is also difficult to get out of the investment early. Unsecured bonds are ‘fixed interest’ investments. This means that the interest rate on the money you lend is set in advance. However, interest payments on your money and the return of your capital are not guaranteed and depend on the ongoing success of the Bond Issuer’s business model. Investors need to be aware that investments of this kind suffer from a lack of liquidity and that capital is at risk.  In a worst case scenario, you may lose all (but not more than) the total amount invested.

What happens to my investment if the families and businesses are unable to pay monies to the Solar Company?

The Solar Company (Bond Issuer) of your investment will rent solar systems to families and businesses in the project's target country with payments made periodically until the system is owned outright.  Money is typically spread across a large number of individuals and businesses and default (non-payment) rates are generally low.  However, in an instance where a large number of individuals default on their payments to the Solar Company, this may have an impact on their ability to repay your interest or capital in part or in full. Where indicated on each project profile, UK aid are co-investing alongside retail investors and may provide first loss on their invested capital should any Solar Company experience difficulties in meeting their repayment obligations. 

What are the risks if I invest in Solar Companies who provide loans to households in Sub Saharan Africa?

By definition emerging market economies have potential for growth. Nonetheless, the threat of economic downturn due to the factors outlined below are a possibility, which investors should consider before making any investment. The companies listed for investment on have their main operations in Sub Saharan Africa hence investors have to consider the impact of changes in the political climate in the countries in which the Solar Companies (Bond Issuers) are operating. Elections often have a strong impact on the economic stability of a country and significant changes could create issues for foreign investors especially as new regimes might close the door or making repatriation of funds difficult/impossible. Political instability could have a very strong impact on economic stability, the judicial system, stability of the financial markets and institutions, and other similar factors. Such risks are difficult to assess but could have a detrimental effect on investment returns. Corruption in many emerging markets, may be more prevalent than in developed markets. In some cases, it’s rooted in cultural differences and thus strongly influential in people’s way of life. Corruption could affect a business’s ability to present fair financial statements. It may add costs that are hard to predict or manage. It could make doing business difficult and make contracts void in court. Natural disasters tend to occur more regularly and/or the effects have a more profound impact due to a lack of emergency (government) responsiveness or general infrastructure, than is the case in developed nations and can have a profound impact on local economies and communities.  Investors should consider that a natural disaster (such as flood, drought or famine) may have severe impact on the ability of local people to make monthly payments to the Bond Issuer, which could have a knock-on impact on the Bond Issuer’s ability to make capital and/or interest payments to them.

Due to political regime change and/or other economic factors, emerging market countries may present a higher potential for the outbreak of conflict or other types of social instability.  The displacement of local populations as a result of war or unrest may affect their ability to continue regular payments to Solar Companies. 

Further information regarding all identifiable risks associated with a project are outlined in the relevant offer document, which an investor should read in full before making a decision to invest.

How does Energise Africa minimise the risks?

Lendahand Ethex Ltd trading as Energise Africa ("Energise Africa") has a strict set of criteria for all Bond Issuers listed on the platform. Every Issuer must also hold to our social mission and work with us to supply solar systems to African households as cheaply as possible. This ensures that more local people wishing to own and install their own solar equipment can afford to do so. An Issuer must also have a 'track record'; they must already have an established presence in their target markets. This means for instance a solid credit portfolio and enough buffers and equity to compensate for unexpected downturns. Energise Africa also checks the organisational structure of the Issuer and how robust their internal procedures are. Finally, the loans that an Issuer receives via Energise Africa must be in proportion to their total balance sheet. Where indicated on an offer, UK aid will be investing alongside the crowd and may provide first loss on their investment ahead of other investors.  Where this is the case it will be clearly stated on the offer page. UK aid have also seeded a foreign exchange (FX) currency reserve that will be topped up over time (Energise Africa plans to set aside up to the equivalent of 1% of all repayments made from Issuers listed on the platform into this reserve fund) to cover potential losses for investors that could be caused by large changes in exchange rates.

Is my investment covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) or Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)?

No, you are investing in the unsecured debt of the Issuer, which is not covered by the FSCS.  Investors should be aware that their capital is at risk which means that you may lose some or all of the money that you invest.  If an Issuer is unable to fulfil the terms of the bond instrument there is no right to complain to the FOS or to get compensation from FSCS.

Is the return on my investment guaranteed?

No, the ability of the Bond Issuer to pay interest on your investment and make a full return of capital is dependent on the continued success of their business model.  You should familiarise yourself with all risks outlined in this section of the website and in the relevant offer document for any project you wish to invest in. You should never invest more than you can afford to lose and you should never invest money you have borrowed.

Is Energise Africa regulated by the FCA?

Energise Africa is an appointed representative of Share In Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the FCA (FRN 603332).

Is my investment subject to any exchange rate risk?

Bond Issuers bear the exchange rate risks. Your bond is settled in Sterling, and the return of your capital and interest payments are also made in Sterling.  However, you should consider that the Issuer of your bond has revenue streams in local currency in the emerging market countries in which they operate.  Major depreciation of this local currency against pounds sterling may have significant impact on the day-to-day operation of the Issuer and may affect their ability to repay your capital and/or interest in part or full. In recognition of this risk, Energise Africa has set up a small foreign exchange fund to cover potential losses to a certain extent.

What happens if a Bond Issuer goes bankrupt?

If a Bond Issuer goes bankrupt, there will be a chance that you lose part or all of the amount you invested. Energise Africa will make every attempt to recover outstanding payments, but the success rate cannot be guaranteed in such situations. Investors have no right to take action against the Issuer or Energise Africa.  It is recommended that investors diversify their risk to any one Bond Issuer by spreading smaller investment amounts across a number of different Issuers.  Investors should never invest more into unsecured bonds through the platform than they can afford to lose, and should make investments into this asset class as part of a diversified investment portfolio. 

What happens with my money if Energise Africa goes bankrupt?

If Energise Africa were to go bankrupt, trades between Energise Africa and ShareIn would cease immediately (ShareIn are a party that holds client monies in segregated accounts in connection with any investment made). ShareIn would then transfer the funds from your personal wallet to your bank account (Note: if at this time the project you have invested in has been fully funded and the money has already been transferred to the Issuer, these funds will not be transferred back to your bank account). ShareIn would then, in consultation with a trustee, handle all repayments between the investors and investees up until the final repayment of the last project has taken place.

Should Energise Africa go bankrupt, in order to prevent investors from losing their money, the notes/bonds are held in a segregated Collective Depot (or securities account) that is administered by Hands-On BV as allowed by the Dutch Financial Authority (AFM) under their license. The note/bond holders are the owners of this depot. This is a clear segregation from the assets of the Hands-On BV. The flow of money is also segregated, namely via ShareIn with the client money account. There is also some operational risk at Energise Africa. For example, Ethex, Hands-On BV, or both businesses may not be able to generate sufficient income or investment to finance their activities, which could jeopardise this joint venture between the two organisations. In that case Energise Africa will handle outstanding loans as well as possible, but the influence to handle non-repayment by an Issuer legally ceases in this scenario.

What happens if ShareIn goes bankrupt?

ShareIn are a party that holds client monies in segregated accounts in connection with any investments made. This includes the taking into receipt the Purchase Price for the Issuer and the receiving and payment of interest and Redemption to you by the Issuer. As part of your registration with the platform a segregated investor ‘wallet’ is created with ShareIn.  Any investor funds held on this wallet are segregated from monies belonging to ShareIn, Energise Africa or any other related party, and will be returned to your nominated bank account should ShareIn cease their operations.  For invested monies not held in your ‘wallet’ Energise Africa will make alternative arrangements for the return of your capital and/or interest from the Issuer to your nominated bank account.

Why is my money going to ShareIn?

ShareIn offer a seamless end-to-end solution, including KYC (Know Your Client) and anti-money laundering management, as well as the ability to hold monies from each investor in a segregated ‘wallet’.  This means your money is safe and secure in your own personal ‘wallet’.