FSD Africa Investments (FSDAi) commits US$3 million to Carbon Value Exchange Ltd (Cavex), a pioneering digital platform linking buyers to small-scale carbon projects across Africa

The latest investment represents a consolidation of FSD Africa’s early stage support to the project and makes FSDAi an early investor in an innovative digital market and payments platform set to revolutionise the voluntary carbon market.

30th October 2023, Nairobi – FSD Africa Investments (FSDAi) has invested US$3 million in Carbon Value Exchange (Cavex), a digital market and payments platform set to revolutionise the voluntary carbon market by allowing small producers of carbon credits such as farmers and small businesses to sell direct to corporate buyers. The platform aims to channel over US$500 million in carbon financing to small-scale green projects by 2030.

The Cavex platform uses cutting-edge technology to remotely capture real time data on the projects’ activities and calculate how much carbon is being displaced or removed as a result. This means buyers will have full transparency around the credits they are buying and can have confidence that the information they are being given is accurate.

The technology minimises the time and cost required for projects to validate and transact their carbon credits which until now has meant only larger renewable projects such as wind or solar farms, or businesses could afford to join schemes that allow them to trade carbon credits with buyers. Crucially, proceeds from the sale of carbon credits on Cavex will flow directly to the companies, people and communities running the projects using digital finance (e.g. mobile wallets), thereby increasing end to end transparency. By aiming to return 90% of transaction proceeds to project participants through digital finance, Cavex will play a pivotal role in amplifying small-scale, high-quality carbon projects and expanding market access for carbon offset projects across sub-Saharan Africa and eventually the Global South.

FSDAi’s investment is part of a seed funding raise of US$6 million by Cavex which will fund the next stage of its development to commercial viability. This includes early-stage convertible grant support from FSD Africa’s Digital Innovation team (amongst other co-grantors) for the platform’s core development by 4R Digital Ltd, the team which has incubated Cavex from concept to the current stage of investment. FSDAi’s investment in Cavex complements its existing portfolio that enables capital allocation to Africa’s green economic growth by backing existing asset managers and venture builders (examples include Africa Climate Ventures, Nithio, Persistent Energy, InfraCredit, Spark Energy and Catalyst Fund).

FSDAi makes investments in support of innovative financial instruments, facilities and intermediaries that can accelerate the role of finance in Africa’s green economic growth. It is funded by UK International Development and works alongside FSD Africa, bringing different financing tools to play to incubate (FSD Africa) and pave the way for FSDAi early investment.

One of FSDAi’s distinctive features is its mandate to take significant investment risk. FSDAi fills an important funding gap by assuming the commercial risk of novel financial solutions that neither development finance institutions nor private investors are prepared to take.

Anne-Marie Chidzero, CIO, FSD Africa Investments, said: “Cavex is a marketplace platform that can radically expand the reach and impact of the voluntary carbon market across Africa through its use of digital technology and mobile money. This technology will allow rural and urban, micro to large businesses to sell their credits to large off-takers in the global North through the aggregation features of the exchange. This means that small and rural producers can participate and benefit from Africa’s great potential to be an exporter of carbon credits.’’

Nick Hughes, CEO and Co-Founder, Cavex, said: “This investment will help us prove how digital technology can open-up climate finance for many people, communities and projects that are displacing or removing carbon. Cavex has the potential to scale in the way mobile money scaled 15 years ago when Kenya and M-PESA spearheaded a global wave of digital finance. More widely, Africa has a huge role to play in the evolution of carbon markets and in this context, it is critical that we find ways to distribute climate finance more equitably and in a way that has real socio-economic impact.”

About Cavex

Cavex is a digital market and payments platform that connects buyers of carbon offsets to small-scale high-impact projects in the Global South. Cavex enables access to carbon financing for a wide range of small-scale projects with the objective of channelling over $500m to projects by 2030. The innovative approach drives efficiencies by utilising digital technologies and data capture to reduce the time and costs for projects to validate and transact their carbon credits. Cavex also utilises mobile money and innovative digital financial services to ensure that the majority of sales proceeds are channelled directly to projects and project participants.