Last month, GWNET and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) held their second knowledge-transfer webinar for participants of the People-Centred Accelerator Mentoring Programme, on the topic of Energizing Finance. We were delighted to welcome key speaker Olivia Coldrey, Lead Finance Specialist at SEforALL. Olivia has more than 20 years experience working at the intersection of law, finance and energy markets.

Finance is crucial to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services. “Currently, only half of the investment required for universal electricity access is committed to the projects and enterprises that will help us reach this goal. And investment for clean cooking is lagging even further behind.” (source – SEforALL).

During this webinar, Olivia led participants through the data collected as part of SEforALL’s flagship research series, Energizing Finance, which provides concrete evidence of finance commitments for sustainable energy access, highlighting where progress is being made, and where it isn’t, based on a wide set of data sources.

Focusing on 20 High-Impact Countries (HICs) – countries with the largest energy access deficits – Olivia honed in on the importance of meeting SDG 7, the financing barriers slowing down progress, and the importance of SDG 7 to women. Energy access improves gender equality through 1) increased freedom and security for girls and women, 2) enabling economic opportunities, and 3) aiding the role of primary caregivers. 

Furthermore, Olivia highlighted positive trends witnessed on the African continent, as well as the finance and policy commitments still required to achieve SDG 7.

Key insights from the presentation and subsequent Q&A session included:

  • There is chronic underinvestment in the energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, putting the continent’s status as an upcoming economic powerhouse on hold.
  • The world is systematically failing to tackle clean cooking access, an issue which affects nearly 3 billion people globally and results in approximately 4 million deaths a year.
  • Improving energy access for women requires a concerted effort to overcome financing barriers uniquely experienced by them, including the need for targeted financial solutions and gender audits.
  • More and better data is needed for decision-makers to effectively meet SDG 7 targets.

If you are interested in knowing more about GWNET’s mentoring programmes, read more here.

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