Nine African countries win renewable energy development funding

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Nine low-income African countries have been chosen to receive funding to transform their renewable energy services at the semi-annual Climate Investment Funds (CIF) governing body meeting, held last week in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Funding and operational support will be granted to Benin, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia, boosting the number of African countries piloting the CIF climate-smart investment scheme to 25.

The CIF has five implementing agencies, one of which – the African Development Bank (AfDB) – is set to work directly with the countries to gain support and act as an implementing agency while the nine African countries develop their new CIF investment plans.

"This move sends an impressive signal for change," said Erastus Wahome, Kenyan representative and co-chair of the CIF’s Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Program (SREP). "The additional donor support for energy transformation is a clear sign of confidence in the success we’ve already seen taking place in low-income countries in Africa and other regions, and a sign of developing countries’ continuing enthusiasm to commit to CIF-style transformation. I am proud that Kenya has helped lead the way for this transformation."

After 40 countries expressed an interest in joining the SREP, an independent expert panel selected the nine African nations based on criteria ranging from low energy access rates and the existence of an enabling policy and regulatory environment, to renewables-friendly energy development strategies, strong governance capacity, and capacity for further implementation.

Each country will now receive $300,000 to enable them to undertake the first steps of their SREP investment plan.

"We are delighted at this vote of confidence and opportunity for starting a process leading up to new transformational investments in low-income countries’ in renewable energy," said Mafalda Duarte, the AfDB CIF coordinator.

"It is now incumbent on all of us to ensure that the new pilot countries can produce investment plans that are solidly linked to their own development goals and meet CIF criteria."

The CIF gathering also thrashed out a series of other Africa-focused funding approvals, including a revised, $25 million AfDB-backed investment plan for Nigeria based around the development of a large-scale solar PV project.