The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Power Africa initiative, reaffirmed its commitment to the African Development Bank-led Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) initiative with a second tranche of funding of US $11 million towards fulfilling its overall commitment of US $20 million.
The signing ceremony took place after the Power Africa Panel on Off-Grid Finance, within the precincts of the U.S. Center at the ongoing 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco.
Recognizing the U.S. Government’s commitment to SEFA, Amadou Hott, AfDB’s Vice-President, Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, remarked that the second tranche will expand the important work by SEFA already underway in support of project preparation and enabling environment reforms for private sector-led renewable energy projects.
“Reaching universal access by 2025 will requires us at the African Development Bank and our partners to build a robust and dynamic pool of skills, finance and technical content to effectively, efficiently and urgently reach communities that are most in need,” Hott noted. The AfDB Vice-President further reiterated the Bank’s commitment to deliver the New Deal on Energy for Africa in a sustainable manner; clean and renewable energy solutions will be encouraged and supported.
Andrew M. Herscowitz, Coordinator of Power Africa, who signed on behalf of the U.S. Government, expressed satisfaction with the SEFA’s outreach to small- and medium-scale interventions that serve the diversified and expanding African energy sector, stating that “Power Africa’s contributions to SEFA will directly support the common objectives of the ‘New Deal’ and Power Africa of providing access to energy – affordable, clean and modern – to all Africans; promoting universal access to modern energy services.”
Lida Fitts, the Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa for the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Chris Hornor, Founder and CEO of PowerHive, and Kevin Connolly of the Microsoft Affordable Access Initiatives who participated at the panel, shared similar sentiments on Africa’s energy potential and appreciated existing partnerships such as the Power Africa and SEFA.
AfDB and Power Africa are long-term strategic partners. Shortly after Power Africa was launched in 2013, USAID committed to providing US $20 million to support SEFA. In 2014, the AfDB committed to investing US $3 billion in support of Power Africa’s goals. The AfDB’s New Deal on Energy for Africa aims at helping the continent to achieve universal electricity access by 2025 with a strong focus on encouraging clean and renewable energy solutions, complementing Power Africa’s goals and objectives.
About the Sustainable Energy For Africa (SEFA)
Launched in 2012, SEFA is a US $95-million multi-donor facility funded by the governments of Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy. It supports the sustainable energy agenda in Africa through grants to facilitate the preparation of medium-scale renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects; equity investments to bridge the financing gap for small- and medium-scale renewable energy generation projects; and support to the public sector to improve the enabling environment for private investments in sustainable energy. SEFA is hosted by the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department of the AfDB.