The Covid-19 Energy Access Relief Fund (EARF) is an alliance of 16 governments, foundations, and investors, providing emergency capital to off-grid energy providers in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia in order to bring reliable, sustainably powered electricity to more than 20 million people.
In the last decade, the world made encouraging progress towards ensuring universal access to energy. The number of people without electricity fell from 1.2 billion globally in 2010 to around 800 million by 2018; off-grid renewable energy solutions have been instrumental in this achievement. Indeed, energy access firms have made remarkable progress in connecting some of the hardest to reach people on the planet to off-grid, low-carbon energy, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to the sector, widening the energy access gap and jeopardizing a decade of progress. In 2020 alone, more than 100 million additional people have seen their electricity access severed because they could not pay their bills during the pandemic. The most vulnerable populations have been disproportionately affected.
Access to clean, reliable, and affordable electricity, which thanks to breakthroughs in renewable energy technologies can also be provided by off-grid service providers quickly and cost-effectively, is vital in helping communities recover from the economic devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic and to ensuring a future of more sustainable and equitable economic growth and opportunity. The EARF recognizes this and is set up to make a difference in 20 million lives across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
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