The African Development Bank has welcomed $136 million in additional donor commitments for the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA).
The announcements were made on Monday 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. SEFA is a multi-donor trust fund managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Denmark, SEFA’s founding partner and first donor, unveiled 100 million Danish kroner (around $14 million) in fresh commitments.
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,” said Møller.
Parliamentary State Secretary of Germany, Dr Maria Flachsbarth: “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 decarbonising economies. Therefore, Germany recently increased its contribution to SEFA by another €100 mill (around $115m).” This significant German contribution to SEFA was first announced during the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy last September.
United Kingdom Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford said 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.
“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,” she added. The UK announced during Energy Day at COP26 an additional £4m ($5.3m) contribution to SEFA.
SEFA helping Africa reach SDG7
Director General of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Bård Vegar Solhjell: “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.”
Dr Kevin Kariuki, AfDB Vice-President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth: “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% 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.”