The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) approved seven high-impact projects worth $54 million in 2020, its best year in spite of challenging Covid-19 conditions, according to its recently released 2020 Annual Report.
SEFA, managed by the African Development Bank, focuses on green baseload, green mini-grid, and energy efficiency investments. The Fund, founded in 2011, transformed into a Special Fund on 31 October 2019.
The report, titled Building Foundations for Success, also details the Fund’s success in attracting increased donor funding. SEFA secured commitments worth $90 million from existing and new donors in the year, including from the German Ministry for Development Cooperation and the Nordic Development Fund, both of which joined SEFA in 2020.
The report covers four key areas: strategic priorities and instruments; key achievements in 2020, providing an overview of SEFA’s legacy (2012-2019) portfolio, and looking ahead to SEFA’s key priorities for 2021 and beyond to transform SEFA into the leading catalytic finance facility in the sustainable energy space for the African continent.
“SEFA’s potential was duly recognized, with the year culminating in a strong endorsement by the Fund’s donors,” noted Vice President Dr. Kevin Kariuki, of the African Development Bank’s Power, Energy, Climate & Green Growth Complex. He said that the additional resources will enable SEFA to establish itself as the leading proponent of Africa’s energy transition and energy access agendas in line with the Bank’s New Deal for Energy in Africa.
The Fund responded swiftly to the onset of the pandemic by launching its COVID-19 Off-Grid Recovery Platform to extend recovery capital to energy access businesses. Other highlights include the provision of catalytic investments in the Spark+ Clean Cooking Fund, the first Africa-focused investment fund to support the clean cooking sector, as well as the Africa Renewable Energy Fund II, a private equity initiative to develop and invest in baseload renewable energy solutions involving hybrid renewable energy projects as well as battery storage.
The Bank’s acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Dr. Daniel Schroth, said, “SEFA’s role in supporting innovative solar initiatives in the decentralized renewable energy space led to the African Development Bank receiving the Development Finance Institution of the Year award by the Africa Solar Industry Association in 2020. SEFA is working on an exciting pipeline of new opportunities across all three focus areas for 2021 and beyond.”