Up-to-$2m in private sector investment in renewable energy projects in developing nations is expected to be sparked by a “catalytic capital” fund being launched through a partnership between the World Bank-run International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Rockefeller Foundation.

A lead-off “rapid deployment” of some $30m in blended concessional finance and grant capital prioritising Sub-Saharan Africa nations will kick-start the fund, said the partners, in order to leverage and “active pipeline” of projects currently being supported by IFC through its prototype scaling mini-grid programme.

“By blending philanthropic and private investment funding, the Rockefeller Foundation and IFC will de-risk capital investment in distributed renewable projects in emerging markets and help to address global energy access needs,” the partners said in a statement.

“Investing in renewable energy infrastructure in communities that have not had access to reliable power will ensure that the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis is both green and equitable,” said the Rockefeller Foundation president Rajiv Shah.

“The landscape of energy technologies we are investing in will make it possible for every person on the planet to have totally reliable, productive electrification.

“By combining the expertise and resources of the Rockefeller Foundation with the global footprint of the IFC, we are demonstrating the power of partnerships to deliver real impact.”

IFC managing director Makhtar Diop:“The climate challenge at its core is an energy challenge. The twin goals of improving energy access and addressing climate change both require our urgent attention but can’t be achieved with public resources alone. The private sector can and must be part of the solution if the scale of our results is to meet the scale of our ambitions.”

Almost 600 million people lack electricity in Africa, according to analysis in the World Energy Outlook 2020.