Africa is the continent where energy poverty hits the hardest. In the Sub-Saharan region, 30% of the population have access to electricity and 17% to modern cooking fuels, hence access to clean and safe energy for their basic needs such as cooking, lighting, communication, health and lighting. The EU is therefore giving special attention to energy issues in the context of its partnership with Africa.
EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund
The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF) is an instrument promoting African development by facilitating interconnectivity and regional integration on the African continent. To achieve this, it supports infrastructure projects with a regional or transnational dimension in Sub-Saharan Africa, namely in the field of energy infrastructure.
The ITF blends grants from the Commission and the EU Member States, with long-term loan finance made available by eligible financiers. In 2012 the EU has allocated a budget of €329 million to support infrastructure projects, in addition to the €392 million already in place under this fund since its creation in 2007.
Rural electrification remains one of the challenges that require a specific approach. The ACP-EU Energy Facility is a crucial instrument targeting energy access in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Since its establishment in 2005, it supports projects increasing access to sustainable and affordable energy services for the poor living in rural and peri-urban areas.
Overall funding of €445 million was made available for the period 2006-2013. Over 15 million people should benefit from improved access to energy thanks to this support.
The projects funded by the facility proved instrumental in increasing energy access in poor rural areas. They contributed to achieving tangible improvements in beneficiary populations' living conditions and socio-economic conditions.
Five projects received funding in 2012.
The Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP)
Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme
Launched in September 2010, the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) aims to support the expansion of renewable energies in Africa. To build knowledge and capacities across the continent, it mobilises the technology expertise and innovation capacity of Europe.
This framework started in 2011 and focuses on a number of priority areas, including:
support for renewable energy policies and market development;
capacity development for project preparation and mobilisation of financing.
The Commission is funding the programme through the Environment Thematic Programme of the Development Cooperation Instrument for a period of three years.
A strategy towards 2020 is currently being prepared by the partners.