On 25 January 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) kicked off a series of launching seminars to raise awareness about the fund and seek stakeholder views. SEFA will use the feedback to inform any adjustments required in its “inception” year.
SEFA recently operationalized its project preparation window, a small facility providing grants to project sponsors that cover up-front development costs—from pre-feasibility studies and PPP preparation to assistance in achieving financial close—for innovative small/medium-scale clean energy and energy efficiency projects in Africa.
“SEFA endows the African Development Bank with the right tools to engage in increasingly smaller clean energy projects” stated Joao Cunha, SEFA coordinator. “This can be a real game changer in terms of enhancing electrification rates on the continent while creating much needed employment opportunities for women and youth.”
A second financing window providing equity investments will be introduced in the second half of 2012 to address the lack of access to start-up and growth capital, as well as the limited managerial and technical capability of small and medium independent power producers and entrepreneurs. SEFA is also in the process of fully establishing its secretariat, with new experts coming onboard soon to advise and assist on project development.
SEFA is a bilateral trust fund of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the government of Denmark designed to enhance the commercial viability, as well as bankability, of smaller, private sector-driven projects in renewable energy and energy efficiency. This will lead to increased provision of productive energy, thereby increasing direct employment at the project site and indirect employment through increased access to reliable, clean and affordable energy.