Ghana launches USD 550 billion Energy Transition and Investment Plan for achieving net-zero emissions, creating 400,000 jobs by 2060


President Nana Akufo-Addo unveils country’s roadmap for green growth and decarbonizing key economic sectors 


His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, launched the country’s new Energy Transition and Investment Plan today during a Global Africa Business Initiative event in New York. 

The plan marks Ghana’s commitment to fighting climate change and fostering economic development in tandem. It details a credible pathway for how Ghana can achieve net-zero energy-related carbon emissions by 2060 through the deployment of low-carbon solutions across key sectors of its economy, including oil and gas, industry, transport, cooking, and power. 

Ghana’s government intends to use the plan as its main tool to engage the international community and investors for support with its energy transition. All measures suggested in the plan represent a USD 550 billion opportunity for the international community to invest in sustainable development in Ghana. If the plan is achieved in full, it would generate 400,000 net jobs within Ghana’s economy. 

The country's existing Energy Transition Framework previously set a target of net zero by 2070, but this new plan shows Ghana has increased its ambition and is targeting net zero by 2060. 

Various sectoral changes and technologies are proposed in the plan. Four main decarbonization technologies – renewables, low-carbon hydrogen, battery electric vehicles and clean cookstoves – would cover over 90 percent of the targeted abatement by 2060. 

Without pursuing the plan, under a business-as-usual scenario, Ghana’s emissions are expected to rise from 28 Mt CO2e in 2021 to over 140 Mt in 2050, with the bulk of emissions growth coming from transport, driven by population growth, GDP per capita growth, and vehicle ownership. 

By implementing this plan, Ghana and its partners can instead bring the country’s energy-sector-related carbon emissions to net zero, while demonstrating that action against climate change does not need to come at the expense of economic development. 

The Energy Transition and Investment Plan was developed by the Government of Ghana with technical support from Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). 


“This pioneering Energy Transition and Investment Plan maps out Ghana’s journey to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060 based on the latest data and evidence, ensuring that as our economy thrives, it does so in harmony with the environment. This plan is a testament to our dedication to fostering green industries, nurturing the evolution of cutting-edge low-carbon technologies, and propelling our nation towards a sustainable industrial revolution while giving equal growth opportunities to men and women.” 

-His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana 


“Ghana’s commitment to a just and equitable energy transition has translated to an ambitious plan that builds a case for low-carbon and energy-efficient solutions across Ghana’s entire energy system. These solutions present a tremendous opportunity for partners and investors from around the world to contribute to climate action and sustainable development in Ghana.” 

-Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, and Co-Chair of UN-Energy




Ghana energy transition plan gains momentum as consultations held with President Akufo-Addo, ministers, local stakeholders


Consultations on Ghana’s much-anticipated energy transition and investment plan took place in Accra last week, as diverse stakeholders from government, the private sector, youth and civil-society organizations offered feedback on the plan ahead of its launch.

This energy transition and investment plan is expected to serve as the government’s main roadmap for achieving universal energy access and net-zero carbon emissions, as expressed under the country’s current Energy Transition Framework and Nationally Determined Contributions, while fostering economic growth and protecting jobs.

Ghana has set goals to diversify its energy portfolio, increase the role of renewables and reduce energy intensity. All of these will need to be done in parallel and the upcoming energy transition and investment plan provides a detailed view of what is needed in terms of technical assistance and investment across key sectors. 

By mapping out these needs, the plan will serve as the main tool for the government to engage the international community and investors for support. The Government of Ghana is developing the plan with technical support from Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).

Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo and Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, met in Accra to discuss the plan's findings and recommendations, ensuring it is backed from the highest levels of government.  

“Ghana is committed to a clean, equitable energy transition that harnesses the full potential of renewable sources and energy efficiency. However, ambition alone will not transform our energy systems, which is why we embarked on creating an energy transition and investment plan that details what is needed to reach our goals. I look forward to working with international partners to realize the many opportunities presented in this plan.”


His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana 

Ogunbiyi also participated in an inter-ministerial committee meeting, where she briefed ministers on how the plan is designed to support the work of various ministries, including environment, transportation, industry, and others.

“It was a pleasure to meet with President Akufo-Addo, government ministers, local community groups and youth this week and hear first-hand how committed they are to a just and equitable energy transition. Their commitment has translated to an ambitious energy transition and investment plan that builds a case for changes across Ghana’s entire energy system. These changes present a tremendous opportunity for partners and investors from around the world to contribute to climate action and sustainable development in Ghana.”


Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, and Co-Chair of UN-Energy

At additional stakeholder engagement events, the private sector, civil-society organizations, youth and other advocacy groups were given the opportunity to weigh in on what they would like to see the plan prioritize. Among the points raised was the need for equitable access to the social and economic opportunities generated by the plan, such as jobs, particularly for women and youth.

Feedback from all consultations is guiding the plan’s finalization, with its launch expected to happen this fall. 

A similar plan was launched in Nigeria last year and a dedicated Energy Transition Office has been established to drive the plan’s activation, having already secured USD 3.6 billion for its underlying projects.

Ghana Cooling for All workshop builds momentum for national action on sustainable cooling and energy efficiency


Last week in Accra, Ghana, SEforALL hosted the Ghana Cooling for All Workshop, which aimed to identify gaps in Ghana's sustainable cooling policy implementation framework and pathways to achieving sustainable cooling for all.  

Ghana is a high-impact country in Sustainable Energy for All's Chilling Prospects research series because it has approximately 8.7 million people in poor rural and urban settings that lack access to sustainable cooling solutions. Ghana also remains vulnerable to heat stressors caused by climate change, with high temperatures ranging from an average of 31 to 40 degrees Celsius, and at the same time has faced challenges adapting to the threat of extreme heat due to several barriers, including a lack of access to sustainable cooling solutions. 

The workshop was held over three days and had over 90 participants, including youth, students, development partners, national associations, financial providers, and importers. 

The Cooling for All Workshop in Ghana had three key outcomes:  

  • Increasing awareness of sustainable cooling among key stakeholders in Ghana 

  • Recognizing the need for implementation finance to unlock additional private sector finance for passive and active cooling 

  • Identifying partnership opportunities to increase the capacity of stakeholders on cooling, especially passive cooling 

These outcomes provide an opportunity for SEforALL and partners like C40 Cities to support the Government of Ghana with capacity building needs and data-driven policy, especially for passive cooling in buildings and cities, as it implements its National Cooling Action Plan and works to deliver sustainable cooling for all.   

SEforALL is also continuing to support the Government of Ghana's cooling and energy efficiency ambitions by convening the Mission Efficiency Community of Practice, which fosters coordination and cooperation among cooling and energy efficiency stakeholders, including connecting project developers with finance. 

Day 1 Recap 

On the first day, the Ghana Energy Commission’s Director for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, Mr. Kofi Agyarko, welcomed participants and set the tone for the workshop by highlighting that cooling was no longer a luxury, and that collaboration and local solutions were necessary to deliver Cooling for All in Ghana. He stressed that such gatherings present an opportunity to chart a more concrete path towards implementing cooling solutions, particularly those that prevent food losses and save vaccines.  

Peace Kaliisa of the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure followed, noting the success of the landmark Centre for Sustainable Cooling and Cold Chain at the University of Rwanda and that additional financing was needed for capacity building. Remarks by Dr. Fenwicks Musonye of the Kenya Energy & Petroleum Regulatory Authority concluded the opening, emphasizing the need to increase awareness of energy efficiency benefits. 

The remainder of the day included deep-dive presentations on cooling access gaps in Ghana and the status of the National Cooling Action Plan. SEforALL led another session that delved into passive cooling, especially in building design, led by Energy Efficiency Specialist Elizabeth Wangeci Chege.  

The final session of the day emphasized the need to promote energy-efficient cooling devices in off-grid and on-grid, a discussion which also provided industry associations with the ability to dialogue with regulators on the current Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) regime and the need to shift to High Energy Performance Standards (HEPS). 

Day 2 Recap 

On the second day, SEforALL hosted a consultation on the Global Cooling Pledge for COP 28, with stakeholders from Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda emphasizing the need for further capacity building and implementation finance. In a subsequent session on innovation, representatives from Rwanda and Kenya shared their feedback on increasing innovation in cooling, including the use of passive designs to create shade and decrease heat in their regions. They also shared how policies and MEPS have lagged behind due to a lack of focus on active cooling, providing an opportunity for Ghana to understand their experiences.  

The National Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Workshop Owners Association and Accra Centre of Excellence advocated for enhanced access to the latest innovation in air conditioners in the Ghanaian market, and SEforALL used this platform to explore opportunities for manufacturing in Africa to reduce the cost of air conditioners and other sustainable cooling technologies. 

The workshop also showcased business models and financial opportunities for sustainable cooling in Ghana. This included Akofresh, a startup company that provides off-grid cooling solutions powered by solar systems, solving the problem of food waste by using cold rooms for storage in Akomadan. The company is targeting other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to replicate the success seen in Ghana.  

Finance was raised as a key issue across all sessions, and the workshop included a session with the Private Financing Advisory Network Country (PFAN) Coordinator and the Ghana Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF) Coordinator who discussed challenges and available support for cooling projects. The SUNREF Coordinator noted that USD 35 million is available for renewable and energy efficiency projects, but that no project has been presented on cooling yet, with high interest rates and foreign exchange fluctuations as key barriers. PFAN Country Coordinator commented on the lack of thorough business and market analysis, necessary tools for investors to understand growth potential. 

Day 3 Recap 

The workshop concluded on its 3rd day by providing training to stakeholders on sustainable cooling in buildings and cities. SEforALL was joined by the Ghana Green Building Council and C40 Cities to deliver the training. Stakeholders were drawn to green roofing, which is barely seen in building construction in Ghana, and the benefits of integrating passive cooling with active cooling to lower overall energy needs.  

The day also included the launch of the Sustainable Energy Policy Hub, a virtual tool supporting policy decision-making processes in the areas of electricity access, clean cooking, energy efficiency and sustainable cooling, with participants using the tool to develop an analysis of Ghana’s policy and regulatory framework using the Hub’s decision trees on sustainable cooling and energy efficiency. 





Cooling for All

Growing our influence and impact – SEforALL’s highlights from 2022 


This year Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Having started as an initiative within the UN, our sphere of influence and impact on the global sustainable energy movement have evolved greatly over the past decade. 

Our 2022 work demonstrates our ability to build higher ambition, stronger policy and planning, and faster results, all of which are urgently needed to achieve affordable and clean energy for all by 2030 and net-zero emissions by mid-century. 

Of course, our work would not be possible without the support and collaboration of our many partners and funders, who we would like to thank for their commitment to helping us build a better future through sustainable energy. 

As the year comes to an end, now is a good time to look back at what we’ve achieved together. 

Higher ambition 

Our advocacy and diplomacy work aims to build high-level political support for energy access and transition around the world. In 2022, we enabled critical dialogues on energy among global leaders and secured significant new energy commitments from governments, companies, financiers, and others. 

SEforALL Forum 

Co-hosted with the Government of Rwanda, the Forum brought together the global energy, climate and development communities to learn, inspire and collaborate. Our partners used this global platform as an opportunity to launch new partnerships and commitments towards the energy transition. Collectively, they announced an impressive USD 347 million in commitments over the three days in Kigali, along with the launch of several important new initiatives, including Mission Efficiency, a global coalition dedicated to improving energy efficiency.  

Youth engagement at the Forum was extensive, with more than 300 youth bringing their voices to the various Forum sessions. Young people’s futures truly are at stake with the energy transition, so we make it a priority to support them in accessing today’s energy sector leaders. 

Sustainable Energy for All Forum in Kigali, Rwanda
Sustainable Energy for All Forum in Kigali, Rwanda

Ministerial Roundtables  

To foster collaboration among African countries in defining and advancing a just and equitable energy transition for Africa, we organized a Ministerial Roundtable at the Forum in Kigali. There, ten countries agreed on seven transformative actions towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7, outlining them in the Kigali Communique, which signals to the global community where support is needed in Africa for energy access and transition efforts. 

As a next step towards garnering this support, we held similar roundtables on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September and at COP27 in November. Importantly, the conversation at COP27 was organized as an Africa-Europe Ministerial Roundtable, which we hosted along with the Africa-Europe Foundation. African and European ministers listened to each other and strategized on how to accelerate Africa’s race towards a just and equitable energy transition while working together. 

There is now greater momentum for Europe to support Africa in achieving its energy goals, something that will be aided by establishing a “Africa-Europe Energy Leaders’ Group.” 

Africa-EU Ministerial meeting
Africa-EU Ministerial meeting


The UN climate conference was also a major moment for us because of the SDG7 Pavilion, which we again hosted with the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP). For the second year in a row, the pavilion was the main hub at COP for discussing and showcasing how to unite global efforts on energy, climate and development, and it served as a platform for the launch of several exciting new initiatives. 

With GEAPP and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, we launched the ground-breaking Africa Carbon Markets Initiative at COP27, which aims to support the growth of voluntary carbon markets in Africa for financing clean energy access and transition. With Bloomberg Philanthropies, we also announced our partnership with the government of Ghana to develop an Energy Transition Plan that will provide a detailed, data-driven pathway for the country and its partners to achieve its energy and climate goals. 


Energy Compacts 

In 2022, we also continued to promote and secure Energy Compacts along with our UN-Energy partners. Launched at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy in 2021, this platform has led to nearly 200 approved commitments towards SDG7 and climate goals. Many of these commitments are already being acted upon, with USD 46 billion in investment having already been generated, 88 GW of renewable energy capacity installed, and 2,450 GWh of energy saved through energy efficiency measures, according to the first Energy Compact Progress Report prepared by UN-Energy.   

Several compacts continue to attract new signatories, including those related to No New Coal, Green Hydrogen, Powering Healthcare, and 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy, proving the value of Energy Compacts in mobilizing action. 

Stronger policy and planning 

We help countries establish policies, regulations and plans that enable sustainable energy development. In 2022, we worked directly with countries and stakeholders in their energy sectors on bespoke plans that will attract investment and technical assistance.  

Energy Transition Plans 

These data-driven national plans are created to identify viable pathways for countries to end energy poverty and achieve net-zero emissions while marking opportunities for stakeholders to support these efforts. Nigeria was the first country to develop such a plan in 2021, with the support of the COP26 Energy Transition Council and SEforALL. 

Although it was first unveiled at COP26, the government launched the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan in August this year. At the launch, the World Bank announced it had committed USD 1.5 billion towards the plan for renewable energy, power sector reforms, clean cooking, and additional opportunities.  

We are now working closely with the Office of the Vice-President in Nigeria to help attract the plan’s targeted finance and assistance. Our work is being carried out through our new office in Abuja by a specific team dedicated to supporting the government. 

Ghana has already partnered with us to develop their own Energy Transition Plan in 2023, and we will pursue similar partnerships with Barbados and additional countries as we grow this important body of work with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies. 

Ghana ETP launch
Ghana ETP launch

Integrated Energy Plans  

We are setting the standard for what a best-in-class integrated energy plan should be and working with partners to make sure countries harness this important framework. 

The plans use geospatial data and tools to identify the efficient integration of on- and off-grid solutions for energy supply (i.e., grid extension, mini-grids, and standalone solutions like solar home systems), while also considering demand-side factors like affordability. Together, this provides vital market intelligence to support investment. 

In 2022, we collaborated with both Nigeria and Malawi to develop their integrated energy plans and launched online platforms for both so country stakeholders can easily access data for their decision-making. 

Research, analysis and tools 

A wide body of research and analysis underpins both our country engagement and global advocacy. In 2022, we developed new lines of research in response to country needs, such as a Powering Healthcare Nigeria Market Assessment and Roadmap, and practical tools to support policy-making, such as our new online Knowledge Hub

We continued to provide thought leadership in the area of sustainable cooling thanks support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Clean Cooling Collaborative.  We again published our Chilling Prospects research, this time with a wider set of case studies, sectoral cooling data, and analysis of the enabling environment for cooling. And our cooling needs assessment framework has been adopted by the Cool Coalition for its global methodology for National Cooling Action Plans, which several countries have already implemented. 

Faster Results 

The world needs to scale and speed up energy access and transition efforts. Finance really is the lynchpin of progress, which is why we established a results-based finance facility two years ago to catalyse energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ensuring the fast delivery of electrification projects for critical services like healthcare is also a priority for us, especially given the recent COVID-19 pandemic. 

Universal Energy Facility (UEF) 

The UEF took a dramatic leap forward in 2022 on multiple fronts, thanks in large part to transformative new funding from the GEAPP and the IKEA Foundation. 

A major highlight was the first set of electricity connections being established by mini-grids in Madagascar with projects financed by the facility. Thus far, the facility has paid out results-based grants for 654 electricity connections under its wave 1 mini-grids programme, with thousands more connections anticipating for 2023 across Benin, Madagascar and Sierra Leone. 

Meanwhile, we launched a second wave of mini-grid finance this year for companies operating in Madagascar and Sierra Leone, and a new UEF-supported country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  

Nigeria also became a UEF-supported country with the launch of a Standalone Solar for Productive Use programme, which is designed to scale up electricity access to households, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), while displacing polluting diesel generators. There has been remarkable interest in this programme from energy developers, who will break ground on their projects in early 2023. 

Mini-grids enable fast and sustainable development in rural areas

Powering Sierra Leone’s Hospitals  

COVID-19 underscored how essential it is for health services to have reliable electricity, which is why our growing portfolio of Powering Healthcare work aims to accelerate electricity connections for health facilities in Africa.  

Following a detailed energy needs assessment in Sierra Leone, we are now managing the electrification of six key hospitals in Sierra Leone with support from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, directly impacting health service delivery and eliminating fuel consumption by adding more than 0.5MWp of installed solar PV capacity to the health sector. 


Looking ahead to 2023 

Having achieved the above in 2022, we must now look to expand on both our longstanding bodies of work and nascent initiatives in the year to come. 

We will continue to focus on advocacy and diplomacy to build global ambition and political support for SDG7 and energy transition, notably through engagement in major global fora like the G20 in India and COP28. 

At the same time, we will continue to directly support priority countries, particularly by helping them create stronger policy and regulations with Integrated Energy Plans and Energy Transition Plans that will mobilize finance, as well as directing funding to energy projects through the UEF, which we hope to grow into a USD 100 million facility by the end of 2023.  

We will also support the growth of the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative to attract energy and climate finance to Africa, and we plan to work with countries to grow their domestic renewable energy manufacturing, helping them reap the economic benefits of localized industries. 

Importantly, we will continue to elevate areas of the energy transition that often get overlooked, including ensuring the transition supports gender and intergenerational equity. Along these lines, expanding our efforts to offer training opportunities to women and youth and ensuring their engagement in energy and climate negotiations will be a key priority in 2023. 

Once again, thank you to all our partners and funders, whose support is critical to our work. We value your commitment to ending energy poverty and fighting climate change, and we look forward to another busy and impactful year of collaboration with you in 2023. 


Mission Efficiency convenes Community of Practice in Ghana


By 2019, the African continent was the least energy efficient region in the world, and by 2021, all regions in the world except Africa and Eurasia saw an increase in energy efficiency investments. 

Mission Efficiency is creating a platform that will foster coordination and cooperation among energy efficiency stakeholders in Ghana to help change this trend. The Mission Efficiency Community of Practice in Ghana is an energy efficiency ecosystem supporting progress on policy, technology, finance, and services solutions that will drive a just and equitable energy transition.  

The Mission Efficiency Community of Practice held its very first Ghana meetup on 30 November 2022. It brought together various partners from the finance and energy efficiency communities, notably the Energy Commission, the SUNREF Programme, Ghana Standards Authority, United Nations Development Programme, GIZ, PFAN, IFC, Ghana National Cleaner Production Center, the Customs Unit of the Ghana Revenue Authority Association of Ghana Industries Energy Service Centre, among others. 

Ghana has achieved great progress in energy efficiency appliances, but there is a need for improvement in other sectors, especially buildings and transport. Aligned with the effort to drive energy efficiency improvements across sectors, Ghana’s Energy Commission is promoting Drive Electric Initiative and collaborating with Mission Efficiency. However, the Energy Commission stressed the need for support from donors in ensuring enforcement and awareness creation to encourage electric vehicle drive in the energy transition. 

The discussions were varied and touched on critical topics across sectors, such as green building certifications, energy efficiency in industry and harnessing ESCO potential. Similarly, participants shared various challenges for energy efficiency such as certification prices, need for testing facilities at a sub-regional level, especially for the additional 17 appliances that the Energy Commission plans to regulate, and lack of data to raise awareness on energy efficiency and attract investments.  

Participants engaged in a roundtable to find short, medium and long-term strategies for advancing energy efficiency in transport, buildings, appliances and industry. This discussion provided valuable inputs to all stakeholders on the direction and drive needed for improving energy efficiency in Ghana, and next steps in various sectors. 

Out of the meeting, SEforALL was able to connect Solar Taxi, Ghana’s first local EV company, and the Private Financing Advisory Network, as well as getting SUNREF support for the financing industries audited under the Energy Efficiency in Industries in Ghana project funded by Green Climate Fund. This provides opportunity for various industries to get funded for pursuing greener production.  

The Mission Efficiency Community of Practice aims to build on these initial conversations and linkages while also promoting innovation going forward. This will ensure increasing progress in Ghana achieving SDG7.3 on energy efficiency. 




Designing effective end-user subsidies to close the electricity affordability gap


Electricity access remains a significant global challenge, with only incremental progress made to date towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

The affordability of electricity plays an important role in determining whether households gain and maintain access to electricity. Closing electricity access gaps therefore requires special attention to supporting affordability.

New research published by Sustainable Energy for All in partnership with Climate Policy Initiative examines this issue in-depth, particularly how subsidies can support affordability. The Role of End-User Subsidies in Closing the Affordability Gap assesses three end-user subsidy programmes – in Ghana, Uganda and Togo – and builds on existing literature regarding the development and implementation of end-user subsidies for solar home systems.

Based on analysis of the three subsidy programmes, the brief outlines a set of attributes key to end-user subsidy design – financing structure; delivery modality and implementers; technology targeted; market targeting mechanism; verification system; and target market – and identifies the various methods available to build each component.


The Ghana Energy Development Access Project launched the Improving Rural Energy Access through Solar Home Systems programme in 2010. The programme is widely seen as a success – likely the result of accurately calculating the subsidy thresholds for different regions in the country and targeting those populations that needed the subsidy the most. The programme also demonstrates the benefits of working with reliable third parties; the inclusion of both the Association of Ghana Solar Industries and rural banks were programme strengths.


The Energy for Rural Transformation (ERT) Subsidy programme has been implemented jointly by the Ugandan Government and the World Bank since 2002. The programme has suffered from structural challenges, although the lack of transparency around it has made specific identification of these challenges difficult. Given the information publicly available on the programme, it appears likely the programme’s challenges may have been due to a more complicated subsidy value than the Ghana programme and more stringent verification requirements that led to delayed payments. Furthermore, high prices and private companies’ capacity limitations to deliver high-quality products of high quality led to consumer distrust.


The Togo government launched the CIZO project to enact enabling environment supply-side and demand-side interventions. Various multilateral institutions such as the European Union and African Development Bank have provided financing for the initiative (EUR 10 million and EUR 12 million, respectively). Implementation of the programme has been slow despite the use of digital technology to verify installations and beneficiaries and provide the monthly subsidy payments. The programme is relatively new so drawing conclusions at this stage is challenging, but early indications are that accurately calculating the affordability gap for SHS products could be a key factor in determining the correct subsidy threshold for increased uptake.

Key takeaways from existing subsidy programmes

The assessment of these programmes suggests effectively employing the menu of design attributes available to policymakers is critical to effectively target and verify beneficiaries while also determining the right threshold of the subsidy being provided.

The brief highlights crucial ongoing data and information issues that must be addressed at the national level to effectively design targeted, efficient subsidy programmes. Most notably, the difference between a successful and unsuccessful end-user subsidy programme is heavily influenced by consumer affordability estimates. This is how entities would determine which markets to enter, what would be the required concessionality to crowd in investment for an initiative from the private sector, and which subsidy thresholds for a technology would lead to increased uptake.

Therefore, the brief recommends that researchers advance a modified energy burden threshold for measuring the affordability gap in developing and emerging economies. An energy burden threshold is the percentage of household income spent on energy costs. Spending on energy beyond the defined percentage is called an energy burden. This threshold is used to determine affordability gap calculations at the moment.

This brief argues that the energy burden, which is defined by certain researchers as 6 percent or higher, is probably not accurate in a developing country context and needs revision based on market conditions and the type of technology.  

Policymakers should also invest resources to improve data on several fronts: demographic data to more accurately target subsidies, technology, and access tier data to assess the potential for phases interventions of subsidies, and household consumption data to minimize potential for market distortion.

The Role of End-User Subsidies in Closing the Affordability Gap

Knowledge brief

Designing effective, efficient and supportive end-user subsidy programmes is a complicated process that relies on significant data and information, including an accurate understanding of the affordability gap in the targeted country or region. This brief builds on the existing literature regarding the development and implementation of end-user subsidies for SHSs. Its purpose is to: a) survey efforts to develop and advance a methodology to assess the affordability gap and the implied level of end-user subsidy required by the market, b) utilize case studies to map key attributes of subsidy design and demonstrate what these attributes look like in practice, and c) identify key data points required to accurately determine subsidy thresholds and targeting mechanisms to improve the success of subsidy programmes moving forward.

To demonstrate how the different attributes of subsidy design function for SHSs in practice, this brief considers three case studies: one from a relatively mature electricity market (Ghana) and two from emerging electricity markets (Uganda and Togo). The end-user subsidy programmes implemented in each country were also assessed on whether they directly addressed the affordability gap challenge in rural regions outside of potential grid connections.

This report is part of the series:  Energizing Finance

Energizing Finance: Taking the Pulse 2021 - Ghana, Mozambique and Vietnam

  • Achieving universal Tier 1 electricity and Tier 4 clean cooking access will cost USD 38-48 billion across Ghana, Mozambique and Vietnam; a more incremental pathway of Tier 1 electricity and Tier 2 / Tier 3 clean cooking access will be considerably less costly at USD 2.1 billion
  • About USD 1.1 billion will be needed in affordability gap financing across Ghana, Mozambique and Vietnam for Tier 1 electricity and Tier 2 / Tier 3 cooking access.
  • Mini-grids will make a relatively small contribution to universal Tier 1 electricity access in the Business-as-Usual scenario.
  • Standalone solar solutions will deliver access to all transition households not served by the grid or mini-grids.

About the report

This report updates and extends the biennial Taking the Pulse report, first published in 2017 by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) as part of its Energizing Finance research series.

It seeks to (i) estimate the total volume and type of finance needed by decentralized energy (clean cooking and electricity) enterprises, (ii) estimate unmet finance needs (the affordability gap) for end-use customers, (iii) provide high-level recommendations on the use of funding to unlock private sector capacity and deliver energy access solutions at scale, and (iv) suggest enabling policies and regulations for governments.

Like previous editions, Energizing Finance: Taking the Pulse 2021 relies heavily on an empirically based model to estimate future finance needed in three countries: this year, Ghana, Mozambique and Vietnam, which represent three distinct levels of electricity and clean cooking access and market maturity. The report uses the World Bank’s widely recognized Multi-Tier Framework (MTF) to classify different levels of electricity and clean cooking access for households. For electricity, it measures the gap to achieving universal Tier 1 access; for clean cooking, it estimates the deficit to both universal Tier 2 / Tier 3 levels through industrially manufactured improved cookstoves (ICS) (which rely on traditional biofuels but are cleaner and more efficient than artisanal cookstoves) and Tier 4 modern energy cooking services (MECS) (through liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), ethanol and electricity).

Key findings

Achieving universal Tier 1 electricity and Tier 4 clean cooking access will cost USD 38-48 billion across Ghana, Mozambique and Vietnam. A more incremental pathway of Tier 1 electricity and Tier 2 / Tier 3 clean cooking access will be considerably less costly at USD 2.1 billion. Achieving universal Tier 4 cooking access across all three countries will cost about USD 37-47 billion, depending on the technology used. Achieving universal Tier 1 electricity access by 2030 in Ghana and Mozambique will require about USD 1.1 billion in additional capital.

About USD 1.1 billion will be needed in affordability gap financing across Ghana, Mozambique and Vietnam. Unsurprisingly, given its high poverty levels (46 percent compared with 23 percent in Ghana and 7 percent in Vietnam) (World Bank)), Mozambique will account for the overwhelming share (82 percent) of the need across the three focus countries, mostly to drive standalone solar uptake in poor, rural households. Most of Ghana’s affordability gap financing (92 percent) will be needed in the service of household ICS purchases, with only USD 12 million needed to support standalone solar purchases. Vietnam will require about USD 40 million to support household purchases of ICS solutions.

Mini-grids will make a relatively small contribution to universal Tier 1 electricity access in the Business-as-Usual scenario. They will provide electricity to up to 3 percent of the population in Mozambique and only about 1 percent in Ghana by 2030. High-connection costs (relative to SHSs) combined with a lack of policy and regulatory clarity around licensing, land acquisition, concessions, tariffs, and subsidy schemes, limit private participation in mini-grids.

Standalone solar solutions will deliver access to all transition households not served by the grid or mini-grids. Achieving this will require a substantial increase in public and private financing above current levels, especially in Mozambique.




  • Explore RBF programmes to incentivize the private sector to reach lowest income households in harder-to-reach areas while addressing affordability.

Clean cooking

  • Execute on LPG strategy and incorporate into national clean cooking strategy a pathway for “clean” fuels beyond LPG, support ICS sector with clear guidelines.
  • Provide demand-side subsidies (e.g., voucher programmes) to improve customer affordability – potentially with carbon finance proceeds.
  • Support PAYG model expansion for clean fuels and consumer financing.
  • Explore demand-side subsidies programmes to address the USD 930
  • million affordability gap in electricity and clean cooking.
  • Expand supply-side financing, including catalytic grants to encourage market entrance and RBF to incentivize expansion in last-mile areas.
  • Remove import duty and VAT for SHS products to improve affordability.


  • Build on prior results-based mechanisms to encourage the private sector to expand in harder-to-reach areas and to serve ethnic minorities.
  • Explore targeted demand-side subsidies programme for households unable to afford ICS.
  • Expand PAYG access and consumer financing options to improve customer affordability.
  • Expand local debt and concessional finance to the private sector – invest directly and in partnership with local financial institutions.
  • Expand access to carbon credits through government carbon schemes that capture carbon proceeds and apply them to expand “clean” fuels.
  • Develop coordinated electricity access, cooking access and climate change strategies.
  • Explore financial instruments and policies specifically targeting women that recognize the additional (and often unique) legal and cultural barriers women face in accessing finance; provide training and capacity-building support to incorporate gender lens in programme planning and design.


This report is part of the series:  Energizing Finance

Energizing Finance 2021 official virtual launch

16:00 CET
14 Oct 2021
17:30 CET
14 Oct 2021

To help countries close their energy access gaps, we need a clear picture of the finance required. That means understanding how much finance they are already receiving, in what forms, how quickly committed funds get paid and which energy solutions are being financed. 

The Energizing Finance research series is recognized as a valuable source of energy finance analysis and advice to policymakers, the finance sector, industry and civil society. It consists of in-depth primary research and analysis by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and partners.

On 14 October, SEforALL will release two new reports under the series:

Energizing Finance: Understanding the Landscape 2021 tracks finance for electricity and clean cooking committed in 2019 to 20 Sub-Saharan African and Asian countries – known as the high-impact countries (HICs) – that together are home to more than 80 percent of people globally without energy access. This report was developed in partnership with Climate Policy Initiative.

Energizing Finance: Taking the Pulse 2021 presents findings on the estimated volume and type of finance needed by enterprises and customers to achieve universal energy access ​for both electricity and clean cooking by 2030 in three focus countries: Mozambique, Ghana and Vietnam. This report was developed in partnership with Dalberg Advisors.

Join us as we launch this year’s research. In addition to sharing key findings, the event will feature panellists who will shed light on what is needed to unlock greater finance for energy access in the push to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 by 2030.

Watch the event here



Tamojit Chatterjee, Energy Specialist, and Annette Aharonian, Energy Analyst, SEforALL 

Opening remarks

Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy

Welcoming remarks 

Barbara K. Buchner, Global Managing Director, Climate Policy Initiative

Aly-Khan Jamal, Partner, Dalberg Advisors 

Energizing Finance: Understanding the Landscape 2021 

Morgan Richmond, Senior Analyst, Climate Policy Initiative 

Energizing Finance: Taking the Pulse 2021 

Kanishka Bhattacharya, Associate Partner, Dalberg Advisors 

Clean Cooking 

Perspective from the field: Message from an entrepreneur 


Development finance in focus: Message from Hendrik Engelmann-Pilger, Senior Energy Specialist, European Investment Bank 

Panel discussion on findings 

Moderator: Olivia Coldrey, Head of Energy Finance and Clean Cooking, SEforALL 


Jacqueline Kimeu, International Coordinator, ACCESS Coalition 

Ute Collier, Head of Policy (Renewable Energy Markets), IRENA  

Nicholas Manu, CEO, Ghana CookClean 

Audience interaction 

Q & A 

Closing remarks  


Register here.

SEforALL acknowledges with gratitude the financial assistance provided by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation that made this event and the reports possible. We also acknowledge the Austrian Development Agency, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, and the IKEA Foundation for their core support of our work.

Energy Safety Nets: Ghana Case Study

This Energy Safety Nets: Ghana Case Study investigates how the Government of Ghana supports access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for its citizens. As seen in other countries around the world, Ghana has implemented various interventions to increase access to electricity and clean cooking fuels. The overall aim of this case study is to identify the measures that have been put in place to enable poor and vulnerable Ghanaians to access and use modern energy services and to explore the reasons for successes or failures in their implementation.

This case study evaluates five programs: the National Electrification Scheme (NES); Lifeline Electricity Tariffs; Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Electrification; Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Promotion; and Improved Cookstoves (ICS).  

This country case study – like the other five, covering Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Mexico – seeks to answer four research questions:

  • What policy measures have been used in Ghana to enable very poor and marginalized people to access and use modern energy services?
  • How effective have these measures been in enabling the poorest social groups to access and use modern energy services?
  • What links have there been/are there between these measures and wider/other social assistance programs?
  • What changes could be made to enhance the effectiveness of existing policy measures in enabling very poor people to access modern energy services?

See also: Energy Safety Nets series

This report is part of the series:  Energy Safety Nets