Influencing AfDB investments and ensuring effective Civil Society participation in decision making
The AfDB has agreed on an ambitious strategy to ‘Light Up and Power Africa’ (comprising the New Deal on Energy with a new ‘High 5’ corporate objective aiming to achieve universal energy access in Africa by 2025). To reach this goal, the AfDB aims to fund roughly half of the new or improved connections needed, with targets of 30 million extra people connected via off-grid, 60 million on-grid, plus 80 million people with new access to clean cooking by 2025. This commitment is welcome – particularly the focus on off-grid connections. However, there remains an in-built bias for fossil fuels at the AfDB and in client governments.
Despite renewed commitment from the top of the AfDB, including the development of a new CSO engagement strategy, there is a need for ongoing and targeted influencing by CSOs, along with more transparent and inclusive participation by civil society and poor communities in AfDB investment decisions to hold the AfDB to account on delivering its ‘High 5’ on energy access. There is also a need to strengthen CSO capacity to participate and engage effectively (addressed through Workstream 3).
On the client government side, there is limited understanding of the development dividend that can be delivered by energy access, of the important role that DRE and clean cooking solutions will play in connecting last mile groups, and of the need for more data-driven and demand-focussed planning and delivery of services. Without demand from client governments, the much-needed changes in terms of investments approaches, enabling policies and more inclusive service planning and delivery will not materialize either at national level or at the AfDB.
Scaled-up, strategic and ongoing civil society engagement is needed to ensure:
- Inclusive and effective CSO participation in AfDB and national government integrated planning and decision-making;[SS1] [SR2]
- Enhanced and effective CSO engagement in wider AfDB decision-making via the new CSO engagement processes at HQ and national level;
- Increased investments in energy access by the AfDB and client governments, particularly in DRE and clean cooking;
- More holistic, demand-focused and data driven support for energy access by the AfDB at the HQ and at national level.