| This new report, Understanding the Landscape: Tracking Finance for Electricity and Clean Cooking Access in
High-Impact Countries, provides a pathway to refine and improve strategies to accelerate progress in delivering universal energy access.
The report is specifically geared for government leaders, public and private finance players and energy access enterprises, at the international and domestic level, that all play critical roles in catalyzing action on access to electricity and clean cooking—two cornerstone priorities of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our findings are especially relevant for countries in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, which have significant energy access gaps and promising opportunities to close those gaps more quickly and at less cost. We offer specific recommendations for doing so.
While many studies have estimated the amount of investment needed to meet energy access goals, none
has attempted to systematically capture what developing countries are spending on energy infrastructure and, more importantly, the overall effectiveness of those expenditures in delivering modern energy services to more people, more quickly.
This report is part of a unique research effort by Sustainable Energy for All, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, Climate Policy Initiative, E3 Analytics and Practical Action Consulting that for the first time begins to answer these critical questions. Through multiple reports, we evaluated the quantity and impact of energy-related finance from all sources—public and private, domestic and international—for electricity and clean cooking access.
This report analyzes financing commitments for electricity and clean cooking over 2013-14 in 20 high-impact countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, whose efforts are critical to meeting energy access objectives by 2030. It includes detailed country studies, focused on Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya, looking at domestic finance spending on electricity and clean cooking access.
While the overall data has limitations, we have enough information to get a first-ever picture of how energy access finance is being used in these 20 countries and for what types of infrastructure – whether grid-based electricity that serves commercial, industrial and urban populations, or decentralized electricity solutions, such as household solar systems, that are better suited for rural populations,
or biogas and biomass cooking solutions for households.
The report’s biggest takeaway is that finance flows for electricity and clean cooking are way too low to deliver universal access.
In the case of electricity, much of the finance today focuses on more expensive grid-based infrastructure, highlighting the need for greater attention on decentralized renewable energy solutions, which can deliver basic modern energy services more quickly and at less cost to rural and hard to reach areas. Our report suggests that by refining electrification strategies with a more balanced emphasis on grid- and off-grid solutions, governments and development institutions can achieve far bigger gains on access to electricity, especially in rural areas. The report highlights early progress in this regard – by countries such as Kenya and Bangladesh, and development finance institutions like the World Bank and the African Development Bank— but those efforts are still early stage and bigger shifts are needed.
In the case of clean cooking, the challenges are far bigger and more profound. While a handful of countries, like Bangladesh and Indonesia, have made advances on clean cooking, overall investment in clean cooking fuels and technologies is extraordinarily low and bold market-based strategies are urgently needed.
Our research comes at a critical juncture in achieving—or falling short—of the global energy access goals. We have just 13 years left to achieve energy access for all by 2030. Yet, based on the latest 2017 Global Tracking Framework data, just over one billion people globally still lack access to electricity and three billion lack access to clean cooking. The vast majority are in the 20 countries we target in our
These numbers are astounding and unacceptable. Lacking access to electricity means food cannot be refrigerated, vaccines cannot be kept safe and school children cannot do homework at night. Similarly, indoor cooking pollution from burning charcoal, wood and other fuels kills several million people every year. There is a larger economic toll, too. Countries that leave these populations behind undermine long-term economic development as well as national security.
We can and must do better to accelerate energy access progress. We hope this report provides a pathway for