African Ministers Support Africa Green Fund

Several African ministers, speaking for their governments at the Seventh African Development Forum held on Tuesday, 12 October 2010 in Addis Ababa, unanimously supported the African Development Bank’s proposal for the establishment of an Africa Green Fund.

The fund is designed to receive and manage resources allocated to Africa from all sources including the fast-track financing and long-term pledges made under the Copenhagen Accord to finance projects and programs that contribute to climate-resilience and low- carbon development in Africa.

Ministers from Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe, DR Congo and Cote D’Ivoire, among others, strongly endorsed the Bank’s hosting and managing of the fund. There are about 22 climate funds globally, but Africa has access only to a few. For example, Africa has only a handful of projects registered under Kyoto’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), most of them concentrated in South Africa, whereas countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India and China have hundreds of projects registered under CDM.

“We have to ensure that Africa has access to international resources,” said Anthony Nyong, AfDB compliance and safeguards manager.

Mr. Nyong, who is one of the architects of the Africa Green Fund, said that Africa’s unique challenges and the huge financing gap on the continent were among other reasons that led to the creation of the Fund

“The Congo basin forest is the second largest rain forest in the world. Some people do not know the good we are doing by preserving it,” he said, stressing that the developed world had to pitch in to ensure that local communities were not forced to depend on the basin’s forest for their livelihoods.

“We welcome the Fund in Uganda,” said Fredo Much, the country’s state minister for finance. “This Fund was needed yesterday, not today,” he emphasized.

Grain Malunga, Malawi’s natural resources, energy and environment minister, said that the government was disappointed with the COP 15 outcome and urged Africa to keep pushing until a better deal was made. He said Malawi endorsed the Bank’s bid to host and manage the fund on the merits of its in-depth experience with other funds and its knowledge of the continent. “The AfDB has outstanding knowledge and experience to help Africa in climate change adaptation,” he added.

The Africa Green Fund, according to Mr Nyong, will have a balanced allocation to mitigation and adaptation, reversing the situation in which much of the resources allocated to climate change on the continent are spent on mitigation. The Ministers requested fast-track creation of the Africa Green Fund to enable its announcement at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2010.

Holding on the sidelines Tuesday was the World Bank-ESMAP-ECA meeting on energy and climate for development. Mr Nzabanita Emmanuel, chief power engineer and acting manager in the AfDB’s energy division, highlighted the Bank’s strategy of ensuring energy access and bringing Africa on a low-carbon growth path. “Africa has vast resources,” he said, citing “gas and oil in the north; coal in the south; hydro in the central part and sun and wind everywhere.” To develop these resources, according to him, countries have to be integrated in order to benefit from economies of scale.

The ADF-VII opening ceremony was attended by Ethiopian President, Girma Woldegiorghis, UNECA Executive Secretary, Abdoulie Janneh, and African Union Commission Chair, Jean Ping.

One of the outcomes of the December 2009 COP 15 held in the Danish capital was an agreement by rich countries to provide USD 30 billion by 2012 and to mobilize USD 100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries in relation to climate change.

During the conference, Africa’s negotiators led by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, demanded that 40 percent of the proposed fund should be allocated to Africa and should be handled by the AfDB.

The idea was supported by several donors who have expressed interest in allocating part of their commitments under the Copenhagen Accord to address climate change concerns in Africa through an instrument hosted and managed by the Bank.

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