During his April 5-9, 2021, visit to India and Bangladesh, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry highlighted several new initiatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in India and Bangladesh that will help combat climate change by expanding access to clean energy, strengthening climate-resilient infrastructure, and promoting clean energy entrepreneurship.
In India, USAID and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) are jointly sponsoring a new $41 million loan portfolio guarantee designed to bolster the ability of India’s small and medium enterprises to invest in rooftop solar panel installation. Since the initiative’s official launch on March 18, 2021, USAID partners have already lined up projects worth $4 million for financing under the guarantee, including 50 solar-powered micro-cold chains in villages, and solar plus storage solutions to power 350 remote rural bank branches. USAID and the DFC are partnering with U.S.-based Encourage Capital and two Indian non-banking financial companies, cKers Finance and women-owned Electronica Finance Limited, on this important initiative.
Special Presidential Envoy Kerry also highlighted that USAID will award up to $9.2 million to support the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), hosted by the Government of India. This initiative will help foster disaster and climate resilient infrastructure, pending the availability of funds. USAID will support the CDRI to develop and share innovations, policy recommendations, and best practices in developing disaster and climate resilient infrastructure worldwide in order to help countries incorporate best practices into their infrastructure planning and foster partnerships between governments and the private sector to expand disaster and climate resilient infrastructure.
Special Presidential Envoy Kerry also highlighted the joint effort to establish the U.S.-India Gandhi-King Development Foundation, which was authorized by the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act of 2020, the landmark legislation authored by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis. The Foundation is a unique partnership between the governments of the United States and India, along with the Indian private sector, to advance critical development priorities such as mitigating climate change. In the coming months, USAID will continue working with the Government of India and counterparts to stand up the new entity.
With a development partnership spanning more than 70 years, USAID and the Government of India have achieved significant results together, demonstrating shared resilience and commitment to clean energy, climate adaptation, sustainable landscapes, biodiversity conservation, and cooperation on disaster risk reduction, with both the public and private sectors in India. Through clean energy programs, USAID has helped improve clean energy access for 5 million people in India, mobilized billions of dollars in private sector investments, and partnered with 22 states in India to help deploy renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.
In Bangladesh, USAID will soon launch a multi-year project of up to $17 million, called “Bangladesh Advancing Development and Growth through Energy” (BADGE), subject to the availability of funds. This multi-year initiative will work to expand Bangladeshis’ access to affordable clean energy, support clean energy entrepreneurship, foster transparent and efficient energy markets, and advance innovation. It is also critical to curbing the country’s carbon emissions, which nearly quadrupled over the past two decades. Not only will it reduce emissions, but will also improve living standards for the people of Bangladesh and will support continued rapid economic growth.
For more than two decades, USAID has helped Bangladesh transform the country’s energy sector as well as protect its natural resources, including more than 2.5 million acres of wetlands and forest areas, which contain habitats for the iconic Bengal tiger in the Sundarbans mangroves. USAID has also championed clean energy innovation.