• Funding connections

    Funding connections

    About 100 million people in 20 countries in Southern and East Africa are expected to benefit from a joint financing initiative to improve access to clean energy in the region.

    Africa Business Communities reports that the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the World Bank have launched the US$15 billion Accelerating Sustainable and Clean Energy Access Transformation (ASCENT) programme.

    The energy solutions will include on- and off-grid electricity as well as clean cooking.

    The programme is leveraging US$5 billion in proposed funding from the International Development Association (IDA) and will raise an additional US$10 billion from governments, development partners, the private sector and carbon markets, among others.

    International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) member countries that have an electricity shortfall and do not qualify for IDA funding – including South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Botswana and Eswatini – have other avenues open to them: they can participate in the programme by borrowing from the IBRD or raise financing through carbon offset platforms, the private sector or climate financing.

    COMESA secretary-general, Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, noted that policy and legal reforms, technical assistance, capacity building and outreach activities were embedded in the design of the ASCENT programme, adding that the region needed ‘a holistic approach to the energy challenge’.

    Zambia’s energy minister, Peter Kapala, said ‘financial instruments such as blended finance play a vital role in de-risking projects and attracting private funds’.

    11 June 2024
    Image: Unsplash