African Development Bank

Energy access and fuel poverty

This page is part of the E3G Public Banks Climate Tracker Matrix, our tool to help you assess the Paris alignment of public banks, MDBs and DFIs

Paris alignmentReasoning
Paris-aligned In line with the High 5 Agenda, AfDB has an ambitious Bank-specific target and monitors progress relatively well, but is behind target on access to clean cooking energy and could improve data availability.
 Alignment and Reasoning
Energy Access Target75 million off-grid connections by 2025 ‘in the context of its New Deal on Energy for Africa Strategic Programme.  130 million new on-grid connections and 130 million households with increased access to clean cooking. (See here and here).
Minimum Definition of AccessFor energy development in Africa, the AfDB states that when assessing the energy connections, the metrics will be refined to reflect Tier 3 or above connections.
% of Energy Financing Dedicated to Energy Access
28% of total energy financing in 2017, up from 26.9% in 2014.
Is Progress MonitoredDevelopment Effectiveness Review measures five indicators around energy access and progress against a target. AfDB is leading the MDBs in this area. Also provides gender breakdown for some indicators.
Progress Against Metrics2017 document states it is on target for the share of population with access to electricity but behind target on access to clean cooking. Overall, the Bank is “on average close to meeting the target”. The  ‘New Deal on Energy for Africa’ includes assistance on an enabling policy environment and helping to transform utility companies to aid energy access.


The AfDB has a partnership with the Sustainable Energy for All Africa Hub (SE4All) to reach SDG7 goals by 2030 throughout the continent; specifically, the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) supports the Hub on green mini-grids to sustainably invest in national power systems, off-grid power and isolated mini-grids.  The platform is also a partnership with African Union Commission, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and UNDP. The Mini-Grid Helpdesk is designed to be a “complete information servicer” to meet the needs of policymakers, designers and regulators of mini grids, specifically in Sub-Saharan Africa, with detailed country reference documents. The Hub collates data and works in 44 African countries to mobilise finances, provide technical support, facilitate policy dialogue and advocate on behalf of its members.  The Bank’s 2017 Strategy document uses Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania as market-enabling environments for Mini-Grid implementation as an example for country-level work.

The Bank’s Africa Power Platform works as a networking and advocacy platform for various actors in the energy and power industry throughout Africa. The platform is primarily funded by the Facility for Energy Inclusion, which has two distinct windows: the Off Grid Energy Access Fund for primarily solar off-grid companies and  grid solutions, and the On-grid Fund, which funds renewable energy solutions consisting of grids less than 25MW and mini-grids. The AfDB is the anchor sponsor of both of these funds, the former of which has recently closed with “$59 million in committed equity capital and $36 million debt facilities, to support innovative, off-grid energy access companies”.

Up to date information on energy access progress is not easily available. A 2016 report by Sierra Club and Oil Change on assessing the MDBs on their financing towards energy access between 2012-2014, gave every MDB an ‘F’ rating for their progress on helping to achieve universal energy access. Further reporting by Oil Change and The Big Shift assessing MDB action from 2014-2017 finds that the Bank, amongst others, is still not on track to meet its energy access commitments. Only 28% of the Bank’s 6 billion USD in energy finance went to energy access, and of this very little was spent on off-grid and distributed systems or cooking and heating access.

Recommendation: AfDB should consider developing an energy access database with up to date data, and all MDBs should consider commissioning a joint report on their progress across SE4All metrics.

Last Update: November 2020

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