AfDB backs $800m decentralised renewable programme


African Development Bank commits $164m to renewables framework across Ghana, Guinea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tunisia. 

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $164m commitment to the Leveraging Energy Access Finance Framework (LEAF), to strengthen decentralised renewable energy development in six African countries.

The $800 million programme will help spur commercial and local currency investments to scale up the activities of decentralised renewable energy companies in Ghana, Guinea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

Under LEAF, some 18 decentralised renewable energy projects are expected to be financed, providing six million people and businesses with access to clean electricity and resulting in a reduction of 28.8m tonnes of CO2 eq. emission.

According to the latest Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 tracking report, close to 600 million Africans lack access to electricity. As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, the number of people without access to electricity increased again for the first time in recent years.

Scaling up decentralised renewable energy, which includes solar home systems, green mini-grids, and solar solutions for commercial and industrial use, will be crucial to achieving SDG objectives and requires significant private sector and local currency financing.

The African Development Bank developed the LEAF program, in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which approved $170.9 million in concessional financing for it in July 2021. The framework forms part of the Bank’s broader off-grid strategy under the New Deal on Energy for Africa and complements existing initiatives, such as the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa.

AfDB vice president, Dr. Kevin Kariuki, commented: “The African Development Bank is delighted to partner with the Green Climate Fund on the Leveraging Energy Access Finance Framework, which will not only accelerate access to electricity based on decentralized renewable energy solutions, hence reducing the respective countries’ carbon footprints, but will do so with the active participation of a private sector facilitated by local currency financing and commercial capital availed under the programme.”

Over six years, LEAF will deploy concessional finance, credit enhancement instruments and technical assistance to crowd-in private sector investors, including local banks, to finance and accelerate efforts to power the continent.