Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa gains wings

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has become the second anchor donor of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA).

The move kick starts the conversion of SEFA – a bilateral trust fund established with funding from the Government of Denmark and administered by the African Development Bank (AfDB) – into a multi-donor trust fund with a wider remit.

The board of AFDB announced yesterday that it has approved the conversion of SEFA. This paves the way for the USAID to make a financial contribution as part of President Barak Obama’s Power Africa Initiative. The AFDB said this also opens the door for other donors interested in promoting private-sector led investments in small and medium sustainable energy projects. Additionally, the Board endorsed a new financing window to support related enabling environment activities.

Kurt Lonsway, Acting Director of the AfDB’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department remarked said “This development proves that SEFA has established itself as a brand in Africa since its launch in 2012. SEFA has already approved USD 4 million in project development grants, co-sponsored an innovative private equity fund and facilitated various contacts between renewable energy entrepreneurs and project financiers in Africa. We are pleased that these early successes can now be scaled-up as the fund opens to new donors ultimately positioning SEFA as one of Africa’s leading facilities for realizing the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative.”

The Ambassador, Brigitte Markussen, alternate AfDB Governor and Africa Director at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they are pleased to have provided the early support for the establishment of the SEFA platform and shall continue supporting it as a leading facility for Africa.

USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa, Earl Gast, said “SEFA will play an important role in removing the obstacles for the development of small and medium-sized sustainable energy projects in Africa, which are critical to the achievement of President Obama’s goal of doubling access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.”

He added that their initial USD 5 million contribution is part of a multi-year commitment to help SEFA scale-up operations in support of clean energy investments in the continent.

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