How Shell Foundation is responding to the Covid-19 crisis

Electricity unit with text printed saying: Advancing off-grid electrification in combating covid-19

As the world adapts to a different operating environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, at Shell Foundation we have been working to formalise our response strategy to help our portfolio of social enterprises and institutions continue delivering energy and transport solutions to low-income consumers in Africa and Asia, and that the sector response is aligned and efficient.

Supporting the Portfolio

We are making additional funding available to the 65+ enterprises in our portfolio specifically for Business Resilience support and providing specific, non-financial technical assistance on topics that are of high concern for the entrepreneurs. Our aim is to help those in our portfolio of social enterprises and institutions who are most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic to maintain impact, pivot if needed and retain viability following the expected period of lower revenues and investment.

Aligning with other sector players

At a sector level, SF will contribute to the Energy Access Coalition relief fund for low-cost five-year debt. The relief fund is working with multiple funders to set up a low-interest loan facility to cover in-country staff costs for off-grid energy companies contributing to SDG7.

The aim is to raise US$100m, which will require 20% first-loss capital. We have indicated that we would be prepared to support set up costs, anchor a first loss layer and contribute to the purchase of additional guarantees. We are actively pursuing several leads for more junior and senior level debt; if this is of interest to your organisation please contact


There are positive stories emanating from across the entire the portfolio – examples of organisations responding to the crisis with innovation and humanity. These stories show the vital work entrepreneurs are doing to reach low-income consumers with energy and transport solutions.

See examples of our partners’ Covid-19 responses