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15 July 2020 - 16 July 2020
Virtual Event
Energy Access COVID-19 Relief Summit

All presentations and recordings are now available here

Energy access sector essential to building back better 

At the Energy Access COVID-19 Relief Summit this week, more than 1,000 energy access representatives assessed the pandemic’s impact on businesses and consumers, stressing the sector’s role in (re)building sustainable, resilient communities and economies. 

The two-day summit was organized by ARE and GOGLA with support from GET.invest and in partnership with AMDAESMAPGDCSEforALL and the Clean Cooking Alliance. Participants met in 600 online matchmaking meetings, organised by GET.invest, a programme supported by the European Union, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Austria. 

“We cannot just sit and celebrate past achievements, we need to look forward. COVID-19 is an opportunity for us to come out of the crisis with energy access at the top of our agendas, as a key enabler of development“, Silvia Anna Ainio from the European Commission said during the summit. Frank van der Vleuten from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs added: “This crisis is a unique moment of risk and opportunity; we need to strengthen our evidence base and raise our voices together to steer economic recovery towards building back better.” 

Speakers at the virtual event highlighted the effects of COVID-19 on companies’ operations and their customers’ lives. In a regularly updated survey, 85% of off-grid consumers say their financial situation got worse. Consumers value energy access so much, they are willing to use savings or in some cases even reduce food expenses to be able to continue using their products. 

Businesses have adapted quickly, proving to be remarkably resilient in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic. They have not only found innovative ways to serve customers, but also responded to reduced household incomes. However, it is clear the sector and its customers need support in all shapes and sizes. More than half of the sector’s businesses indicated they will need short-term financial relief. Next to immediate financial relief and technical assistance, speakers also called for medium- and long-term initiatives, including new partnerships with governments, commercial investors and neighbouring sectors such as agriculture, education and health, carefully designed demand-side subsidies and result-based financing programmes. 

While the pandemic is reversing decades of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, the energy access sector stands ready to contribute to a lasting recovery for communities and economies. By improving access to reliable electricity, modern appliances and clean cooking solutions, the sector is helping to power health clinics, reduce air pollution, create and retain jobs, and support livelihoods. With its proven track record of improving the lives of at least 470 million people, the energy access sector has a key role to play in ensuring economic security and bolstering communities’ resilience during the ongoing pandemic and future crises. The current crisis is also a real chance to transition into a future where a resilient and diverse energy sector, with a healthy mix of international and domestic actors including SMEs as well as financiers, delivers clean and affordable energy to domestic, social and productive users. 

The sector can, however, only live up to this essential role if businesses and their consumers receive the support they need right now. This includes grant and debt funding for relief and recovery, as well as direct or indirect support to consumers. Indeed, the summit featured several relief and recovery mechanisms spearheaded by committed donors and investors. However, it is evident that more is needed, particularly for local, smaller and medium-sized businesses serving last-mile customers. These companies have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and, due to their size and funding requirements, may be unable to access other relief mechanisms. 

Leading industry representatives thus continue to look for new partnerships with donors, investors and governments to reduce the plight of businesses and consumers. Only if the sector receives this support will it be in a strong position to help build back better.

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    Closed since 16 July 2020
    Virtual Event
    Participants 878
    Meetings 592
    Kenya 178
    United States 151
    United Kingdom 130
    Nigeria 115
    Germany 98
    India 57
    Netherlands 54
    France 50
    Zambia 48
    Uganda 42
    Belgium 38
    China 33
    South Africa 29
    Switzerland 27
    Sierra Leone 24
    Spain 23
    Italy 21
    Ghana 20
    Tanzania, United Republic Of 17
    Rwanda 17
    Cameroon 16
    Madagascar 16
    Mozambique 15
    Philippines 14
    Senegal 13
    Canada 13
    Malawi 12
    Zimbabwe 12
    Togo 11
    Austria 11
    Nepal 10
    Côte d'Ivoire 9
    Liberia 9
    Benin 9
    Bolivia 8
    United Arab Emirates 8
    Ethiopia 8
    China (Hong Kong) 7
    Brazil 7
    Indonesia 6
    Sweden 6
    Malaysia 6
    Congo, The Democratic Republic Of The 6
    Fiji 6
    Norway 5
    Colombia 5
    Australia 5
    Myanmar 5
    Denmark 4
    Morocco 4
    Bangladesh 4
    Namibia 4
    Thailand 4
    Cape Verde 4
    Japan 4
    Guatemala 4
    Yemen 4
    Tunisia 3
    Botswana 3
    Pakistan 3
    Singapore 3
    Burundi 3
    Czech Republic 3
    Niger 3
    Portugal 3
    Chile 3
    Somalia 3
    Honduras 3
    Suriname 3
    Swaziland 2
    Israel 2
    Guinea 2
    Panama 2
    Lesotho 2
    Egypt 2
    Finland 2
    Mexico 2
    Greece 2
    South Korea 2
    Burkina Faso 2
    Chad 2
    Bulgaria 2
    Barbados 1
    Hungary 1
    Luxembourg 1
    Jamaica 1
    Sao Tome And Principe 1
    Mali 1
    Belarus 1
    Ireland 1
    Croatia 1
    Poland 1
    Falkland Islands (malvinas) 1
    Gambia 1
    Moldova, Republic Of 1
    Haiti 1
    Afghanistan 1
    Martinique 1
    Türkiye 1
    Peru 1
    Angola 1
    Congo 1
    Gabon 1
    Mauritius 1
    Sri Lanka 1
    Jordan 1
    Djibouti 1
    Total 1553
    Company 313
    Start-up 145
    NGO 140
    Consultancy 121
    SME 108
    Government Agency/Programme 104
    Other 90
    Academia/Research 78
    Development Bank 66
    Investor/Finance 65
    Association 48
    Industry 13
    Electric Cooperative 4
    Total 1295