The government of the United States of America has reinforced its focal commitment to achieving the lofty objectives of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) with an additional funding of $11 million.
At a signing ceremony which held on Saturday within the precincts of the U.S. Centre Pavilion at the ongoing 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakech, Morocco, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Power Africa initiative provided a second tranche of funding of $11 million towards fulfilling its overall commitment of $20 million to the African Development Bank-led Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa.
Saluting 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 would expand the important work already underway in components 1 and 3 of SEFA that support project preparation and enabling environment reforms.
“This demonstration of donor coordination through pooled resources serves as a model and signals to the international community our joint level of commitment to these crucial goals of generation and access,” Hott says.
The AfDB Vice President who has vast experience in structuring finance for power and energy projects with a passion for solving Africa’s power and energy need especially in renewable energy and balanced energy mix, likened the signing ceremony as a boost for the bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, which is aimed at helping the continent to achieve universal electricity access by 2025 with a strong focus on encouraging clean and renewable energy solutions.
Andrew M. Herscowitz of Power Africa, who moderated the event and signed on behalf of the US government, expressed satisfaction with the SEFA-driven mechanisms which have succeeded in increasing access to small and medium-scale renewable energy generation and energy efficiency as well as providing project preparation grants to attain bankability status.
According to Herscowitz, “Power Africa has already injected a first payment of $5 million into SEFA which directly supports the AfDB’s New Deal on Energy for Africa that ensures universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global mix.”
Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa for the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Lida Fitts; Chris Hornor, Founder and CEO, PowerHive; and Kevin Connolly of the Affordable Access Initiatives, who participated at the signing ceremony, lauded the U.S. government-led partnership with SEFA, which aims to add 30,000 MW of cleaner and more efficient generation capacity.
Fitts added that an addition of 60 million new home and business connections would unlock the energy sector potential through policy reforms and removal of barriers that impede sustainable energy development in sub-Saharan Africa.
While Power Africa offers renewable energy developers the combined resources of 12 U.S. government agencies, the World Bank Group, the AfDB, the Governments of Canada, the EU, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as partner African governments and more than 120 private sector partners, the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) is a multi-donor effort developed with an initial pledge between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Government of Denmark in 2011.
Subsequently, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Italy pledged further contributions, bringing the total fund capitalisation to an equivalent of $95 million by the end of 2015. SEFA promotes African ownership, inclusiveness and a comprehensive approach to implementation in the 44 African countries that have joined the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
It provides guidance to African governments and energy stakeholders, delivers technical assistance, fosters networking and communication, and contributes towards finance mobilisation. The SEFA goals are developed through a multi-stakeholder process that brings together government actors, development partners, private sector and civil society.