AfDB sealed support from multilateral agencies, foreign governments
Africa’s 600m live without electricity, majority in Nigeria
As COP26 rounded off over the weekend, Nigeria and other member-countries who are shareholders of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are to benefit from $136 million in additional donor commitments for the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA).
SEFA is a multi-donor trust fund managed by the African Development Bank. Denmark, SEFA’s founding partner and first donor, unveiled 100 million Danish kroner (around $14 million) in fresh commitments.
Germany, another SEFA donor country, recently increased its contribution to SEFA by another €100 million. The significant German contribution to SEFA was first announced during the UN high-level dialogue on energy last September.
Nigeria, though AfDB’s biggest continental equity holder and Africa’s largest economy, her citizens bear the brunt of poor access to electricity. As of June 2020, the World Bank country update indicated that Nigeria had the world’s highest population of people without access to electricity.
Part of the takeaways of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland was for nations of the world to invest in sustainable energy for most of their citizens as a way to engender sustainable development.
The announcements for the $136 million additional donations for SEFA were made during an event at the COP26 conference featuring government ministers and a panel of leaders in renewable energy. The event was an occasion for SEFA donors to reaffirm their support for the fund’s institutional priorities.
Flemming Møller Mortensen, Denmark’s minister for Development and Nordic Cooperation, said energy was transformational for economic growth, job creation and strengthening climate resilience.
“The good news is that green energy – such as wind and solar – has become cheaper than fossil fuel. This opens a unique opportunity to close the energy gap for the almost 600 million people living in Africa without access to electricity today with renewable energy sources,” he said.
Maria Flachsbarth, parliamentary state secretary of Germany, said: “The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa can speed up development and contribute to the energy transition in Africa while creating universal access to energy and decarbonizing economies.
For Vicky Ford, United Kingdom’s minister for Africa, “too many people living across Africa still do not have access to electricity. This means children can’t do their homework, businesses can’t operate, and economies can’t grow. Which is why it is essential we support African countries in a just and inclusive energy transition, so everyone can access affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.”
She said additional UK and global support to the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa will help make this a reality, providing more affordable electricity to households, communities and businesses across the continent.
According to her, “working together to support African countries to lower dirty emissions and grow job-creating economies is good for Africa, good for the UK and good for the planet.”
Bård Vegar Solhjell, director general of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), said: “SEFA’s mission is breaking new ground and building markets for sustainable energy projects in Africa which is of vital importance to reach SDG7. I hope the Fund will continue to grow in the coming years.”
Kevin Kariuki, AfDB’s vice-president for power, energy, climate change and green growth, said: “SEFA is a key catalyst for the New Deal for Energy in Africa aimed at ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.”
With nearly 55 percent of the population still lacking access to modern energy, fast population growth and ongoing economic transformation, Africa will require a step-change in investment activity to meet targets under Sustainable Development Goal 7 and the Paris Agreement. Traditional large-scale fossil-fuel baseload technologies are no longer cost-competitive nor climate-compatible.
Ensuring a rapid transition to renewable energy technologies, including distributed solutions, flexible generation, and storage technologies, is critical for meeting global imperatives under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 and the Paris Agreement.
Mark Carrato, Power Africa coordinator, added that “the phenomenal growth of the SEFA Special Fund is not only a testament to the power of partnership and the viability of climate-smart investment but a measure of the confidence we all have in the African Development Bank and its mission.”
SEFA is a multi-donor special fund that aims to unlock private sector investments that contribute to universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services for all in Africa. SEFA has received contributions from the governments of Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Nordic Development Fund, Sweden, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.