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International Partnerships

In line with our international commitment to fight climate change and tap the potential of sustainable energy, we support our partner countries’ transition towards sustainable energy and low carbon growth, especially in Africa where millions of people still don’t have access to affordable, safe, reliable, and sustainable energy and are missing out on related development opportunities.


The African paradox

In Sub-Saharan Africa, energy poverty is rampant. Around 600 million people don’t have access to electricity. 90% of the population in rural areas relies on fuelwood, charcoal, and animal waste for heating and cooking, which causes air pollution and affects human health. Additionally, these resources, if harvested unsustainably, can bring adverse consequences for the environment and the economy. Africa is also the only region of the world where, because of demographic pressure, the number of energy poor is increasing over time, despite international efforts.

And yet, at the same time, African countries are among the world’s richest in sustainable energy resources. This potential remains widely untapped because these countries also experience barriers that impede private investments in clean technologies and infrastructures.

Africa is therefore our privileged partner when it comes to sustainable energy because there is still so much to do. We want to work together with African countries to unlock their energy sectors’ huge potential for growth and jobs, help them convince private investors to engage in innovative projects, and put them on the fast track for sustainable development.

Our energy objectives for Africa

Our sustainable energy work in Africa is in line with our global frame of action for energy, which is set by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015) and, more specifically, the 7th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG7), as reflected in the European Consensus on Development.

For the period 2014-2020, we have earmarked €2.7 billion (of a total budget of €3.7 billion) for sustainable energy actions in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the aim to:

  • provide access to energy to about 30 million people
  • increase renewable energy generation by about 5 gigawatt
  • contribute to the fight against climate change by saving about 11 million tonnes of C02e/year

Africa-specific tools for investment in sustainable energy

Africa-Europe Alliance for sustainable investment and jobs

The Africa-Europe Alliance for sustainable investment and jobs (2018) takes the EU-Africa partnership to the next level. The objective is to boost private investments, energy sector included.

The High-Level Platform on sustainable energy investments in Africa (SEI platform) was set up as a key component of the Africa-Europe Alliance in November 2018. It brings together public and private representatives and academia active in the energy sector, to make concrete recommendations and take actions to boost investments in the sustainable energy sector.

EU Technical Assistance Facility

Through the EU Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), we help our partner countries enhance the investment climate in their energy sector, notably by helping them improve and harmonise their regulatory frameworks.

The TAF Sub-Saharan Africa started in 2013 and has implemented more than 100 missions in 34 countries.

EU External Investment Plan guarantees

6 of the 8 sustainable energy related guarantees approved under the EU External Investment Plan (EIP) specifically focus on Africa. Visit the Investment section of this website for further information on the EU EIP.

Electrification financing initiative (ElectriFI)

The Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI) is a flexible financial facility aimed at reducing investment risks in the energy sector in underserved or off-grid areas of partner countries.

The initiative has a portfolio of approved investment projects exceeding € 100 million, many of them aimed at Africa.

Additionally, 4 countries in Africa - Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Bénin, Zambia - have decided to allocate additional funds to the ElectriFI initiative from the EU development aid allocation, to mobilise even more private investments in the area of renewable energy.

Africa renewable energy initiative (AREI)

The Africa-led Africa renewable energy initiative (AREI) aims at speeding up the transition to renewables in Africa.

We fund 24 projects under AREI. These represent an investment of €488 million, which are expected to leverage €4.5 billion and add 2.3 GW of new renewable energy generation capacity by 2030.

EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-AITF)

The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-AITF) is a blending instrument, combining long-term investments from development institutions, like the UN or the EU, with loans from banks, like the European Investment Bank.

Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA)

We fund the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) to promote ownership and knowledge exchange in the field of energy at local level.

The CoM SSA helps local authorities in Sub-Saharan Africa fight climate change and ensure everyone has access to clean energy. More than 140 cities have already signed in.

‘Women and sustainable energy’ initiative

The EU initiative ‘Women and sustainable energy’ is specifically dedicated to promoting the economic empowerment of women in the energy sector, with an overall budget of €18.1 million financing 3 projects implemented mainly in African countries.

Digital Energy Facility (DEF)

The Digital Energy Facility (DEF) is a financial facility led by the African Development Bank, to which we committed to contribute € 23 million.

The DEF offers financial support and training in digital skills to innovative small businesses working to improve energy access in Africa.

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