Per Heggenes

IKEA Foundation deepens commitment towards closing energy access gaps with new funding for SEforALL


Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and the IKEA Foundation have today announced a new partnership that aims to support action in closing global energy access gaps.

The partnership builds upon both organizations’ work and commitment to faster progress towards meeting Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7), which calls for affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

Today, millions of people are being left behind, with severely limited opportunities to create better lives because they do not have access to safe, reliable energy to power their homes, schools and businesses. From job creation to economic development, and from safe streets to the full empowerment of women, sustainable energy lies at the heart of ensuring everyone has the opportunity to prosper.

The latest Tracking SDG7 data shows the scale of this challenge. 840 million people globally still do not have access to even a basic electricity supply, and just under three billion live without access to clean cooking solutions. SEforALL’s work with the IKEA Foundation will focus on supporting policy development and flows of finance in the ‘High-Impact Countries’ where these access gaps are greatest. For example, in 16 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa an estimated one out of two people still do not have access to electricity, and millions more have minimal or intermittent access.

“We at the IKEA Foundation remain committed to powering communities with renewable energy. We all need to step up to meet the global targets for SDG 7 to ensure access to energy and clean cooking, renewable energy and energy efficiency. That is why we are supporting Sustainable Energy for All with a USD 5 million grant to make renewable-energy access easier, quicker, more affordable, sustainable and inclusive for all,” said Jeffrey Prins, Renewable Energy Lead, IKEA Foundation.

Finance is the lynchpin to meeting the 2030 targets laid out in SDG 7. Yet SEforALL’s Energizing Finance research shows that finance is not flowing at the speed or scale needed to meet global energy goals. Philanthropy has a unique opportunity to support innovative businesses and projects that traditional finance may find it risky, and in turn help create a system change towards faster progress on quality healthcare, education and economic prosperity.

Speaking on the announcement, Jim Walker, Director of Partnerships at Sustainable Energy for All, said: “IKEA Foundation has rapidly taken up a position of leadership on the urgent challenges of climate change and access to clean energy, building on its long-standing commitments to improving livelihoods for children around the world.

“IKEA Foundation and SEforALL have a shared vision that universal access to sustainable energy is essential if we are to tackle the poverty and environmental degradation that adversely shape millions of children’s lives today. We are therefore delighted to be partnering with the Foundation to bring clean energy to those communities around the world who are most in need, and where our collective impact can be greatest.”

By combining insight on the latest research, public-private partnerships, and compelling communications, SEforALL is guiding policymakers, businesses and financial institutions on how to ensure that all people have access to modern energy. The partnership and grant funding from IKEA Foundation will support:

  • Work that promotes the importance of integrated electrification planning in African countries with policy-makers and the private sector, including through SEforALL’s Electrification Accelerator, which consists of 30 dedicated private sector stakeholders working in African electricity markets;
  • SEforALL’s Energizing Finance research program, which provides policy-makers and the global finance community with a critical assessment of where finance needs to be directed to support SDG 7; and
  • Targeted projects for bringing energy access to vulnerable or underrepresented groups, including advancing gender-focused energy policy and investment, as well as addressing the energy needs of displaced people and refugees.

The announcement came on the eve of the Sustainable Energy for All Charrettes in Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, where SEforALL is convening a diverse set of stakeholders from across the sustainable energy movement. The Charrettes features a series of intimate, interactive sessions where participants conduct intensive inquiry into specific questions designed to produce clear actionable outputs: defined pathways and actions for participants to achieve greater speed and scale towards SDG 7.

Watch Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, discuss the role of philanthropy in closing the energy access gap and this new partnership below.

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