The African Development Bank (AfDB) will commit USD 1 billion a year to the energy sector, said the institution's president, Donald Kaberuka, on 21 June at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, in Rio de Janeiro.
Mr Kaberuka made the announcement at an event promoting the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, which was chaired by the president of UNIDO, Kandeh Yumkellah. Mr Kaberuka shared the platform with Mozambique's president, Armando Guebeza, and the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso.
The SE4All initiative was launched by the United Nations Secretary General in September 2011 to achieve three main objectives by 2030. The objectives were to ensure universal access to modern energy services, to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
Mr Kaberuka said: "Promoting affordable and clean energy access is a critical development theme for Africa and for the AfDB."
The AfDB has been involved in the SE4All initiative since its launch, and its energy, environment and climate change department set up a dedicated SE4All task force in March 2012.
Access to reliable, affordable and clean energy is paramount for powering economic activity and growth. Energy access in Africa is still the lowest in the world, with at least 625 million people in sub-Saharan Africa without access to modern energy services. Instead, they rely on biomass for cooking, heating and lighting, which is harmful to the environment.