September 16, 2014

Bill Clarke & Osprey Foundation Underwrite an Innovative Loan Structure for Community Safe Water Stations

Demonstrating how impact investing can contribute to solving off-grid water challenges.

Bill Clarke and Osprey Foundation have contributed $150,000 in the form of a $45k grant from the Foundation and a $105k loan from Bill Clarke to Safe Water Network. The funds will cover the cost of an installation and the on-going support for a Safe Water Station in Berekuso, Ghana, located fourteen miles north of the capitol, Accra. Bill Clarke is the president and Founder of Osprey Foundation.

The structure with this community of 4,500 involves a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreement with Safe Water Network. Berekuso will assume a 12-year, 10% loan to cover all system costs, start-up expenses and working capital.  Safe Water Network and its local partners will administer the loan and guide the community until it is ready to operate the system on its own.

This project will provide important insights into how to structure loan agreements with communities and under what conditions capital recovery is possible. This is critical to attracting sufficient capital to fund a roll-out of Safe Water Stations at scale. Another objective of this pilot is to identify communities that have a high likelihood of developing the capacity to own and operate successful systems that can both offer affordable safe water and meet loan obligations.

“Because the need for affordable, safe water is so large,” says Bill Clarke, “the sector requires fresh and innovative ideas on how to attract the capital required to solve this crisis. We are pleased to be working with Safe Water Network and Berekuso in Ghana to test one such approach.”
“We will provide the system design, technical and operational support,” says Charles Nimako, head of African Initiatives, “Our goal is to put Berekuso in a strong position to meet its loan repayment plan. In the event, funds fall short, soft loan provisions allow the community to continue to keep safe water flowing long-term.”  Adds Nimako, “This is a pilot and we’re setting this up to identify the right conditions for success.” 

Another important component of this pilot program is the concurrent working groups facilitated by Safe Water Network on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and Finance. Each is comprised of government officials, development partners and executives from the private sector. Both will address the policy framework that enables our pilot program with Berekuso to grow into a full-fledged regional or national opportunity.

To foster best practice in the sector, results and lessons from these working groups and the preliminary results from the field will be featured in an upcoming Field Insight series and included in our annual Ghana Sector Review. In March 2015, these findings will be presented at our third annual Beyond the Pipe forum in Ghana.

“The Osprey Foundation plays a vital role in our ability to help communities,” says Kurt Soderlund, CEO of Safe Water Network. “Their support of this important demonstration project will provide insights into how we can attract sufficient capital to take our approach to scale.”

The Osprey Foundation  joins an esteemed group of partners funding Safe Water Network’s Ghana programs including the Conrad N. Hilton Newman’s Own, Stone Family and Vitol foundations, Kosmos Energy, and BGI, LTD.

For more information on this pilot project contact Nat Paynter, vp strategic partnerships.
 

Bill Clarke, Founder and President, Osprey Foundation
“Because the need for affordable, safe water is so large, the sector requires fresh and innovative ideas on how to attract the capital required to solve this crisis. We are pleased to be working with Safe Water Network and Berekuso in Ghana to test one such approach.”