Established in 2017, the Canada-IFC Renewable Energy Program for Africa is a partnership between the Government of Canada and IFC to accelerate and scale up private sector investments in renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa as a means to improve access to affordable and sustainable energy services that play an important role in reducing poverty, reducing gender inequality, and tackling climate change. Eligible projects are designed to be aligned with the principles set out by the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) and reflect Canada’s pledge of 155 million Canadian dollars for support of renewable energy generation in Africa under AREI. A central focus of both the investment and advisory components is increasing gender-responsive economic development.

Priority Areas

The investment component of the Program provides CA$150 million of concessional capital that can be blended with IFC’s own commercial capital to catalyze private sector investment in high-impact renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Program promotes a wide range of renewables such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and marine, as well as energy transmission, distribution and storage — with a core focus on meeting the needs of the poorest people.

The advisory component (CA$5 million) includes three sets of activities:

  1. “Gender” that aims to support IFC clients that receive financing from the Blended Finance Program, to close jobs and asset gaps between men and women in the energy sector in SSA; and
  2. “Off-grid Technical Assistance” that is designed to stimulate a pipeline of off-grid and distributed generation (DG) projects;
  3. “Beneficiaries’ assessment” and results measurement work for DG projects that will be undertaken once at the individual distributed generation project level, at a point in time when the project is at a mature stage to be able to provide a credible estimate.

Canada has been an active member of the World Bank Group (WBG) for over six decades through its thought leadership and financial support. The WBG-Canada partnership is generating results that improve lives in low and middle-income countries around the world, supporting the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Canada is one of IFC’s largest development partners, supporting IFC’s investments and advisory services in all regions and across many sectors, with a focus on climate adaptation and mitigation, agribusiness, gender, investment climate, and extractives.

Featured Project

A key part of the advisory component is Canada’s support for EnergytoEqual (E2E), an IFC-led initiative that aims to work with renewable energy companies to reduce gender gaps across leadership, employment, community engagement, and entrepreneurship and to increase research and data on the business case for women’s participation. E2E undertakes a range of activities to ultimately help support creating the next generation of female leaders in the clean energy sector, which include addressing maternity/paternity/flexi hours leave policies; creating a peer-learning platform where companies come together to exchange best practices; undertake a gender-employment diagnostic; as well as a “Powered by Women” network, where female professionals can access information, share experiences and explore mentorship opportunities.