European Investment 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
Some progressUnclear whether or not the Bank supports the Access to All priority, progress monitoring and disclosure is not evident.
 Alignment and Reasoning
Energy Access TargetEnergy access mentioned as a priority within the Energy Lending Policy under the EU Agenda for Change and fully subscribes to the SEforAll initiative. The EIB was called upon by the European Commission to support this. However EIB does not appear to have a specific energy access target.
Minimum Definition of AccessThe EIB does not have have a formal definition of energy access.
% of Energy Financing Dedicated to Energy AccessThe EIB does not collect statistics on the financing of energy access. The Bank’s energy access financing is achieved mainly through rural electrification programmes and the financing of companies that install home solar systems in developing countries.
Is Progress MonitoredResults Measurement (ReM) framework for outside the EU measures number of households connected to electricity networks.
Progress Against MetricsHouseholds connected to electricity networks between 2012-16 are increasing (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). Clarification on updated data welcome. The EIB projects outside in 2019 will result in 3.3 million households being served by clean energy (although this is different to grid connections of course).


The EIB’s energy work is not wholly focused on energy access due to its geographical focus (see note), but the Bank does finance the Energy Access Ventures Fund.  Following the theme of renewable energy, the fund invests in SME-led projects bringing off-grid electrification including solar home systems, micro-grid infrastructure and other small and micro renewable technology or projects.

The EIB’s 2018 Energy Finance in sub-Saharan Africa report does not appear to make much mention of energy access.

There is evidence of individual projects in this area, such as financing of off-grid solar in Uganda.

The EIB Climate Bank Roadmap makes one reference to energy access, stating that “targeted investments in renewable energy – both on and off‐ grid ‐ can support the 1.1 billion people that today lack access to electricity while tackling related gender inequalities.”

Up to date information on energy access progress is not easily available. A 2016 report by Sierra Club and Oil Change International 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.

Recommendation: EIB should make available progress on above data since 2014 due to the absence of a similar report, and all MDBs should consider commissioning a joint report on their progress across SE4All metrics.

Note on the EBRD and EIB

The EBRD and EIB work predominantly in Europe and Central Asia. Of the 39 countries in which EBRD operates, for example, only two have a population with access to electricity of less than 99.8%. These are Mongolia (85.6%) and Morocco (91.6%). Therefore, it is understandable that the EIB and EBRD do not have a strong focus on energy access. However, the EU Energy Poverty Observatory highlights that action is needed to address energy poverty in the EU and beyond. EBRD has worked on this topic, for example, helping to increase building insulation in Slovakia. It is important to remember that energy access also covers access to space heating as per the SEforAll and ESMAP Multi-tier framework, and that part of energy access is still relevant in parts of Europe and Central Asia. It should also be noted that both are in the process of becoming more active outside of their traditional regions, including for example sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, energy access will become more and more relevant for these banks.

In regards to the EIB, it should be noted that 10% of the EIB’s lending is outside the EU, including sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific and Asia and Latin America. Energy access is very relevant to these regions, therefore a greater focus on this topic would be appropriate.

Last Update: November 2020

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