3 October 2013 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved the conversion of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) – a bilateral trust fund established with funding from the government of Denmark and administered by the AfDB – into a multi-donor trust fund with a wider remit. With this conversion, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will become the second anchor donor and make a financial contribution as part of president Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, while also opening the door for other donors interested in promoting private-sector led investments in small and medium sustainable energy projects. Additionally, the AfDB endorsed a new financing window to support related enabling environment activities.

On the occasion of the bank’s approval, Kurt Lonsway, acting director of the AfDB’s energy, environment and climate change department remarked, “This development proves that SEFA has established itself as a brand in Africa since its launch in 2012. SEFA has already approved US$4 million in project development grants, co-sponsored an innovative private equity fund and facilitated various contacts between renewable energy entrepreneurs and project financiers in Africa. We are pleased that these early successes can now be scaled-up as the fund opens to new donors ultimately positioning SEFA as one of Africa’s leading facilities for realising the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative.”

The ambassador, Brigitte Markussen, alternate AfDB governor and Africa director at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is pleased to have provided the early support for the establishment of the SEFA platform and shall continue supporting it as a leading facility for Africa. USAID assistant administrator for Africa, Earl Gast, says that “SEFA will play an important role in removing the obstacles for the development of small and medium-sized sustainable energy projects in Africa, which are critical to the achievement of president Obama’s goal of doubling access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.” He adds that their initial US$5 million contribution is part of a multi-year commitment to help SEFA scale-up operations in support of clean energy investments in the continent.