Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa

Climate Objective
Sectors and Themes
Type of Support Provider
Type of Recipient
Private sector
Fund Size

USD 67.6 million

Co-financing Requirement
Trustee or Administrator
African Development Bank (AfDB)
Contact Information
Middle East and North Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa

The development objective of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) is to support sustainable private-sector led economic growth in African countries through the efficient utilization of presently untapped clean energy resources. SEFA has been designed to operate under three financing windows: project preparation, equity investments and enabling environment support.

SEFA operates through three components:

  1. Project Preparation Grants: This window provides cost-sharing grants and technical assistance to private project developers/promoters to facilitate pre-investment activities for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Grant funding will target development activities from feasibility up to financial closure for projects with total capital investments in the range of USD 30 million – 200 million. It contains a total resource envelope of USD 21.7 million
  2. Equity Investments: This financing window seeks to address the lack of access to early stage capital for small-and medium-sized projects, as well as the low managerial and technical capability of smaller entrepreneurs and developers. It targets private seed and growth capital projects in Sub-Saharan Africa with expected project cost between USD 10-80 million. It contains a total resource envelope of USD 35.5 million
  3. Enabling Environment Grants: This window provides grants to support mainly public sector activities that create and improve the enabling environment for private sector investments in the sustainable energy space in Africa. This component is not bound by project size limits, and includes interventions spanning the off-grid, mini-grid, and grid-connected segments. It includes a total resource envelope of USD 30 million, with USD 10 million for green mini-grid activities
Support Provider

Denmark, the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Germany, the Nordic Development Fund and the Global Energy Alliance from the People and Planet.

Purpose of Support
Project and program implementation
Co-financing Requirement Details

Co-financing requirements vary depending on the project.

Funding Type
In-kind contributions
Monitoring and Reporting Procedures

Monitoring and reporting requirements vary depending on the project and type of investment.

Organizational and Decision Making Structure

The African Development Bank (AfDB) approves grant support and in-kind contributions. SEFA is structured to respond to requests originated or championed by AfDB staff. All proposals received will be screened and pre-assessed against the basic eligibility criteria by the SEFA Secretariat, currently hosted in the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department (ONEC) of AfDB. In the case of external requests meeting the basic eligibility criteria and presenting a good pipeline opportunity, SEFA Secretariat will work with other departments with the view of identifying a champion to lead the internal review and approval of a proposal.

Equity investment decisions are the sole responsibility of AREF’s Fund Manager – Berkeley Energy LLC – subject to the terms of the AREF fund agreements, with the SEFA Secretariat’s role mainly as providing general oversight to fund implementation as well as collaboration on project identification.

Eligibility Criteria

Funding requests must be aligned with SEFA’s three strategic priorities: (i) Green Baseload; (ii) Green Mini-Grids; (iii) Energy Efficiency.
Special attention will be given to proposals which: (i) are implemented in countries with limited renewable energy experience; (ii) present demonstration and replication potential, with “first-of-a-kind” features; (iii) provide cross-cutting benefits across several domains such as agriculture, education, food, gender, health, and water.
Due consideration will also be given to aspects of economic and financial viability, namely through strong alignment with national plans and strategies, cost-competitiveness and quality of service, and ability to generate returns and attract additional investors.
Finally, applications will be assessed across a range of indicators and anticipated development outputs and outcomes, including: (i) commercial finance leveraged by the project; (ii) MW of sustainable energy generation installed (and/or degree of energy efficiency achieved); (iii) new jobs created, disaggregated by gender, and; (iv) annual GHG emission reductions delivered.

Eligible Countries

Developing countries in the Middle East & North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Information on how to

The SEFA Technical Unit reviews all application forms received and advises on eligibility, strategic alignment/priority and readiness for further processing. Additional information may be requested as part of this initial assessment. Applications that clear this screening stage will then enter the pipeline and move to the appraisal stage. During the appraisal stage, a thorough due diligence will be conducted, and if cleared, the project will be presented to subsequent management committees and African Development Bank Board of Directors for clearance and final approval or Vice President depending on the application amount.

To submit a funding request, complete this application form and
submit it to