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Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) like the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank are publicly committed to ending energy poverty and enabling energy access to the developing world. But their conventional processes and approaches to risk management make it difficult for them to invest in the decentralized renewable energy solutions that have the best chance of lifting people out of energy poverty. So what can be done about it? To find out, we talk with a pioneer in the energy investment and energy access space and ask her some pointed questions about how development bank funding works, and how it needs to be changed.

Geek rating: 5

Guest: Christine Eibs-Singer is the Director of Global Advocacy at Power for All, an organization that advances renewable, decentralized electrification solutions as the fastest, most cost-effective and sustainable approach to universal energy access. She also serves as Senior Advisor to the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, with a focus on energy access finance. Christine has been in the energy access space for 20+ years, starting as the co-founder of E+Co in the mid-90s, the pioneer energy enterprise investment company.

On Twitter: @Power4All2025

On the Web:

Recording date: June 15, 2016

Air date: July 13, 2016


Christine Eibs Singer et al., Power for All: “Decentralized Renewables: The Fast Track to Universal Energy Access” (May 2016)

Kristina Skierka, Christine Eibs Singer, Power for All: “’New Deal for Energy a Big Deal for Africa, Off-Grid” (Jan 25, 2016)

William Brent, Decentralized Energy: “Energy Access: It’s the Policy, Stupid” (Jun 14, 2016)

Justin Guay, Huffington Post: “Who will serve the world’s missing middle?” (May 25, 2016)

Sierra Club and Oil Change International: “Still Failing to Solve Energy Poverty, International Public Finance for Distributed Clean Energy Access Gets another F” (Apr 2016)

Giorgio Gualberti, Christine Eibs Singer, Morgan Bazilian, Utilities Policy: “The capacity to spend development funds in the energy sector” (May 2013)

Lighting Global and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2016” (Mar 3, 2016)

Neha Rai, Sara Best and Marek Soanes, IIED, Hivos: “Unlocking climate finance for decentralised energy access” (Jun 2016)

Women in Clean Energy Symposium, C3E 2013: Advancements for the Developing World Panel Discussion

Jigar Shah, The Huffington Post: “How Solar Investment Can Light Up India” (Jun 14, 2016)

Marc Gunther: “Clean Energy for the global poor” (Jan 20, 2011)

Bella Genga, Bloomberg: “Lumos Plans East Africa Mobile-Power Rollout After Nigeria” (Jun 9, 2016)

Toby Shapshak, Forbes: “New Solar Products To Boost Small Businesses In Africa” (Jun 22, 2016)

Xavier Helgesen, Medium: “Want to End Poverty? Start with Electricity” (Jun 24, 2016)

Jason Deign, Greentech Media: “India Gets Serious About Microgrids” (Jun 23, 2016)

World Bank press release: “New Financing to Bring 2.5 Million Tanzanian Households to the Electricity Grid” (Jun 21, 2016)
World Bank program document for Tanzania grid expansion
Justin Guay’s response

World Bank press release: “World Bank, India Sign Deal to Boost Solar Globally” (June 30, 2016)

Photo credit: By Isofoton.esOwn work, CC BY 3.0,