Access to sustainable energy underpins many aspects of a healthy, sustainable economy. It is a child’s ability to turn on lights to study at night and connect to the internet, a family’s ability to cook indoors without inhaling smoke, and a business’s ability to operate and grow, creating jobs and opportunities.

Recognizing this, governments worldwide have set global targets for energy access in Sustainable Development Goal 7, which aims to ensure “universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030. Today, with twelve years to go to achieve the goals, almost one billion people still lack electricity and almost three billion people lack access to clean cooking (Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report 2018).

There are proven technologies and business models that can increase access to clean, affordable and reliable energy to help achieve the goals and spur sustainable development. However, financing these projects and enterprises continues to be a persistent challenge.

Sustainable Energy for All’s Energizing Finance series, written by a team of Climate Policy Initiative analysts, is the first, and only, in-depth attempt to capture multiple years of data on investment for the two key areas of energy access: electrification and clean cooking. It focuses on public and private finance commitments in 20 developing countries – known as the high-impact countries – that together are home to nearly 80% of those living without access to sustainable energy. Building upon the first 2017 report that examined financing flows during 2013-14 (averaged annually), this latest report updates these findings with energy access finance commitments from 2015-16, meaning that, for the first time, policy makers and investment leaders can begin to track progress, or lack thereof, in scaling up finance for energy access since agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals.

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