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Company background

In 2018, with 70% of Madagascar’s population lacking access to electricity, Axian, Sagemcom, and Norfund joined their forces to test a new model to electrify rural areas. Axian brought its market knowledge, Sagemcom offered expertise in mini-grid systems, and Norfund developed a long-term vision for energy access. The project was a success, fostering new businesses, enhancing educational quality, facilitating agricultural product processing, and improvement of health services. Within three years, WeLight electrified 9,000 households.

In 2022, WeLight reaches a new milestone: BNI (a Malagasy bank) and three European development banks – the European Investment Bank, ElectriFi, and Triodos – endorsed the enterprise’s expansion in Madagascar. A cumulative €20M was raised to build 120 new sites, positioning WeLight as the first mini-grid operator in the country.

Building on its success in Madagascar, WeLight continues its journey on the international stage. In 2021, the World Bank reported that 570 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have electricity access. WeLight opened its first sites in Mali in 2022 and, quickly became one of the leading energy providers in the country. At the same time, WeLight is expanding its operations to Nigeria, Africa’s leading growth market, with the aim to deploy its first solar mini-grids in 2024.

WeLight aspires to become the leading operator in rural electrification across sub-Saharan Africa, and is preparing to launch operations in two additional countries by 2026.

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Our Founding Partners

WeLight sprang from the united vision of three key economic players dedicated to Africa: Axian, Sagemcom, and Norfund. Axian, with its diverse portfolio from real estate to innovation, and Sagemcom, specialists in network equipment for Sub-Saharan Africa, bring their unique expertise to the forefront. Norfund, Norway’s sovereign development bank supporting sustainable businesses in developing countries, further strengthens this collaboration. Together, they have turned the vision of accessible, sustainable electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa into a profound reality.

logo axian
logo sagecom
logo norfund
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Mission and commitment

WeLight has both on-field and technological expertise, combining mini-grids and renewable energies. These two ingredients are key to the success of its mission: energy inclusion in villages.

WeLight is committed to supporting meaningful and sustainable socio-economic growth, encouraging environmentally friendly practices and unlocking the potential of Africa’s rural communities.

+200

employees

80 000+

beneficiaries

1 000 MWh

produced in 2022

230

active sites by the end of 2024

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Pioneering Sustainable Practices

Following a rigorous review, WeLight has become the first company in Madagascar to achieve the B Corp certification, an international label for companies that meet the highest standards of environmental and social performance. This prestigious recognition testifies to WeLight's commitment to creating a positive and significant impact on its entire ecosystem.

Meet the team

Meet the management team, explore the backgrounds of seasoned leaders with unique expertise

Romain de Villeneuve

Romain de VILLENEUVE

CEO

Romain has 25+ years of experience in Africa and Middle east. He has held executive positions in management and international business development both on operations and infrastructure businesses (Orange, Alcatel and IHS Group). Romain is also the Order of Malta's Ambassador for Africa in charge of the fight against human trafficking.

Alexandre Castel

Alexandre CASTEL

CCO

Graduated from HEC Paris and Mines-Telecom Nord Europe, Alexandre boasts over 12 years of experience in African energy access, notably founding Station Energy in 2011, and working for VINCI Energies in Abidjan as Business Development Manager in West Africa.

Tsanta Rabekoto

Tsanta RABEKOTO

Environment and Social Director

Graduated in Social Sciences with a focus on Population and Development, Tsanta has built a solid environment and social expertise in the sector of mini-grids. She has also developed a robust experience in public affairs and the management of relations with institutions in Africa.

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Claire Allègre

Finance Manager

Graduated from EDHEC, after a first experience in the M&A department of BNP Paribas, Claire served in the French Land Forces as an officer before working as a financial auditor for Airbus at KPMG. She then moved to Nigeria where she joined Proparco, an impact finance institution, as an investment officer.

Ted Boulou

Ted Boulou

COO

Graduated from Polytechnique Paris, Sciences Po and ENSAE, Ted began his career at the IFC-World Bank. Ted then founded Somtou, a startup developing productivity tools for the informal sector before leading strategic projects for corporates in Africa incl. Air Liquide, Orange and I&P.

Innovation

Boldness

Commitment

Partners

Meet the partners at the heart of our mission