1. Context

Least developed countries (LDCs) have made considerable progress in increasing access to electricity. Yet, about half of the people in the world without electricity live in LDCs. While the average global electrification rate reached 87.4% in 2016, the proportion of the population in LDCs with access to electricity was 44.8%. This data hides disparities between countries and regions, as well as urban and
rural areas. In 2016, on average, 75% of the urban population in LDCs had electricity access, compared with only 31% of rural populations. These gaps are not only limited to electricity, since access to modern fuels for cooking and heating are yet further restricted in these countries.

The acute energy gap faced by the least developed countries is a binding constraint on their structural transformation. Reliable and affordable access to energy is a key development multiplier with large transformative power. It is essential for private sector development, productive capacity building and expansion of trade and it also has strong linkages to climate action, health, education, water and food security. Considering the potential that sustainable energy has for the development of the least developed countries, accelerated action is needed in LDCs if Sustainable Development Goal 7 is to be reached by 2030 globally.

Reaching universal access to modern energy in LDCs by 2030 will require massive investment and a rapid change in action within the next years. Technological advances continue to generate new solutions and clean, green energy is more affordable and competitive than ever. If these advancements are combined with increased investments, least developed countries can have a real opportunity to achieve SDG7 by 2030 and contribute to climate change action.

A recent estimate puts the cost of achieving universal access to modern energy in LDCs, from US$12 billion to US$40 billion per year. Yet, financing remains limited. A 2017 UN-OHRLLS report on promoting investment for energy access in LDCs found that between 2010 and 2015, investment in sustainable energy, including from development finance institution programme support, was markedly uneven.

This country study will zoom in at country level and analyse how well-coordinated and strategically planned action could spur investment in the sustainably energy sector and put the country on track for achieving SDG7 by 2030. The best practises and lessons learnt from this study will be shared with other LDCs and their development partners at the global high-level meeting on financing for sustainable and modern energy in LDCs, taking place in China in 2019.

2. Objectives of the report

The primary objective of this study is to contribute to the achievement of SDG 7 in least developed countries. The specific purpose of the assignment is to prepare a country specific study on increasing investment in sustainable energy to accelerate energy transition. The report will lay out how the pilot country could attract and generate the required investment to achieve SDG7, and leapfrog to clean energy, with a view to contributing to the objectives of the Paris Agreement and holding the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2°C”.

The investment study will be designed to provide an approach for operationalizing national sustainable energy plans and strategies towards achieving SDG 7, by identifying a set of implementable programmes and projects, including their investment requirements, that can then be presented to potential private and public investors. Its purpose is to crowd-in investments, to accelerate sustainable energy transition by combining different investment opportunities in one package, as well as enhancing
an enabling environment.

The study must provide a comprehensive, systematic and well-prioritized overview of concrete investment opportunities in pilot country’s energy sector. It must be tailored to the information needs of potential investors and aimed at accelerating the process of getting projects financed and implemented.

As the study will be presented to other LDCs, the possibility of expediting the achievement of SDG7 in other LDCs using the same approach will be examined together with preparing similar type of report for other LDCs.

3. Selection of the pilot country

The study will focus on countries left behind in terms of access to sustainable energy and it will be conducted in Malawi.

Malawi was selected from among those countries that have electricity access rates below 20 %.1 Further, the country selection was based on criteria such as current level of development of the sustainable energy sector, national adaptation programme of action (NAPA), progress made in preparing rapid assessment and action agendas, and other related factors. Also, the Ministry of the
Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment of Malawi and other relevant partners were consulted. The country analysis will be the stepping-stone for identifying opportunities and challenges at country level, and for breaking down the activities needed for transition to sustainable and modern energy, as well as outlining the required financing scheme.

4. Detailed tasks and deliverables

The study will cover the following aspects:

a) Review of energy sector and needs in the selected pilot country, analyse progress made since the adoption of the Istanbul Programme of Action, power demand (current and future), and future plans for access to energy. The report shall be based on the latest available data, to analyse progress in access, efficiency, renewable energy and total primary energy supply per capita. The review should also underline the energy supply potential of the country.

b) Analyse the main challenges in access to sustainable energy and describe the future energy mix, with a view to contributing to the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

c) Present the investment needs required to reach 100% access to sustainable energy by 2030.Analyse the current financing flows to sustainable energy projects and the main impediments blocking new investments.

d) Identify and present a set of implementable programmes and projects for grid, mini-grid and off-grid sectors in the pilot country and the financing required, ensuring the climate change resilience of the proposed programmes and projects. Estimate (wherever applicable) the climate change mitigation potential of each project (tons of CO2 equivalent emission reduction potential based on UNFCCC methodologies) with a view to mobilize climate finance at later stages.

e) Present financing routes and offer recommendations on how to unlock private sector finance, and tap into business opportunities, including through public-private partnerships.

f) Facilitate focused discussions with key stakeholders including Government, private sector, CSOs, projects developers, development partners and project developers and technology providers, and liaise with other similar and relevant projects to ensure alignment and exchange of best practices. Provide recommendations for the government, development partners in the North and South, IFIs, MDBs, regional banks and the private sector, in taking next steps.

g) Consider how to increase funds for project preparation through regional and multilateral mechanisms.

h) As the report will be presented in a meeting for all LDCs for lessons learned and best
practices, the report has to precisely describe the methodology used in the study, including justifications and explanations behind the selection of financial and other indicators and databases from which these were derived.

5. Timeline

The drafting of the study will commence in September/October 2018, and will have to finish in the 1st quarter of 2019. The report will be presented at a global meeting on financing for sustainable and modern energy in LDCs, to be organised in China, during the 2nd quarter of 2019. The study will be drafted partly from the place of residence of the consultant/consultants, as well as through visits to the pilot country. Regular consultations via video conference, audio conference or other remote business practices, will be required.

Application Process

Interested applicants should submit their detailed CVs, in PDF format, by email to latest by 19 August 2018 (by midnight EST). Only the successful candidates will be contacted after the closing of the deadline. No further information will be provided to the candidates in the meanwhile.