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OFID's Energy for the Poor Initiative

OPEC Fund for International Development

When in 2011 the United Nations General Assembly issued a declaration that 2014–2024 would be the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, we felt compelled to strengthen our commitment to the issue of energy poverty. 

OFID has not only championed this matter, but has taken concerted action to work with its Partner Countries to prioritize universal access to sustainable, modern energy services, which is still one of the world’s major issues. The World Energy Outlook published by the International Energy Agency in 2013 shows that in 2011 there were more than 1.2 billion people lacking access to electricity and around 2.6 billion people relying on biomass for cooking and heating needs.

OFID’s firm belief that human development and energy use are inseparably linked received a considerable boost in November 2007 at the 3rd OPEC Summit held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where our Member Countries called upon us to intensify our efforts in this important area.

Shortly thereafter, in 2008, OFID launched its Energy for the Poor Initiative (EPI). Since then, energy poverty alleviation has been our primary strategic focus, with activities carried out at both an advocacy level and an operational level.

In terms of advocacy, OFID has worked to push the issue of energy poverty up the international agenda by highlighting the widespread absence of modern energy services and its detrimental impact on economic and social progress in developing countries. OFID also coined the term that describes the alleviation of energy poverty as the ‘missing ninth Millennium Development Goal.’

OFID was chosen in 2011 to be a member of a high-level group formed by the United Nations Secretary-General to put together a framework for the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. The Group comprised representatives of governments, the private sector and international organizations, among others. It was tasked with forming new public-private partnerships and an Action Agenda, which was given a high profile at the Rio+20 Summit in June 2012 and finally presented to the UN General Assembly in September 2012.

As OFID continues to join the global debate and work closely with its wide network of partners to deliver the best-suited solutions, our advocacy efforts have enabled us to generate responses and scale them up in a faster and more efficient way. A strong example of such advocacy is our

Ministerial Declaration on Energy Poverty. Announced at Rio+20, the landmark Declaration reaffirms the commitment of OFID Member Countries to the eradication of energy poverty and pledges a revolving amount of US$1bn to finance OFID’s EPI. 

OFID continues to be a key player in this field as part of the newly created Advisory Board co-chaired by the UN Secretary General and the World Bank President, and responsible for supervising the implementation of SE4ALL. OFID’s EPI was publicly recognized by the co-chairs in a meeting of the Advisory Board in late November 2013. In February 2014, OFID was officially appointed as one of the members and supporting organizations the Energy Access Committee of SE4ALL.

At an operational level, OFID believes that words must be converted into action. This action is reflected in a substantial increase in the resources we allocate to the energy sector. We have said publicly that, while others are ‘ finding solutions’, OFID is engaged in ‘funding solutions’.

In the last few years, OFID has intensified its activity on the ground by utilizing a wide range of funding solutions. From November 2007 up to the end of 2013, OFID approved more than US$1.8bn for energy operations in 43 countries. In the last two years alone OFID approved almost US$1bn, which shows the growing commitments in OFID’s EPI. Activities include the construction and rehabilitation of energy infrastructure; institution strengthening; funding research; and providing low-cost grassroots solutions, some of which will be highlighted in this booklet.

As we begin the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, OFID is accelerating to build on this drive. We will continue to maximize our inner ‘energies’ towards a future with sustainable energy for all. We need to continue to impress upon the development community that development is not possible without energy, and that sustainable development is not possible without sustainable energy.

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Category: Energy

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