The African Development Bank (AfDB) has placed access to sustainable energy development at the heart of its strategy, with the biggest priority ensuring improved access to electricity across the continent.
AfDB power, energy, green growth and climate change VP Amadou Hott told delegates at the twentieth yearly Africa Energy Forum, being held in Mauritius this week, that East African countries are seeing progress with regard to access to electricity.
“For example, Kenya moving from 32% [population energy] access in 2013 to 56% access in 2016, owing to the intervention of many partners, including the AfDB, which financed Kenya’s Last Mile energy project,” he noted.
However, despite this progress, Africa remains the lowest-access region in the world. The AfDB has, therefore, placed energy at the top of its list of priorities.
AfDB has committed to funding $12-billion for energy development in Africa over the next five years.
The provision of $1.4-billion in funding in 2017, and the sourcing of another $5-billion, enabled the construction of 7 000 km of transmission and distribution lines, which also enabled some regional power integration.
“We expect four-million additional people to now have access to electricity,” said Hott.
However, he noted that power in Africa will not happen if utilities are not properly functioning. “We can not accelerate universal access without transforming the utilities.”
“They have to be least-cost-based. In light of this, the AfDB is supporting countries that are using both renewable energy (off-grid and mini-grids) and traditional energy resources. It should not be off-grid versus grid-based energy.”
In light of grid-sustainable energy, the AfDB will commit to investing $100-billion a year from 2020 to support emerging countries in meeting their Paris Agreement commitments.
“Funding from the public sector should be blended with the private sector to reduce the cost and tariffs for green-based energy,” said Hott.