Climate Financing : African Dev’t Bank Pushes For Continental Autonomy

The President of the bank addressed reporters during the Climate Action Summit at the UN Headquarters in New York, September 23.


Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, as part of activities marking the 2019 UN General Assembly, convened the Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23 for stakeholders  to deliver new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear. During one of the official briefings of the event that focused basically on financing climate actions in Least Developed Countries,  Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank( AfDB), noted that Africa gets only four percent of global climate financing and charged that the continent must not remain at  the mercy of people who would decide to make donations or not.

He was speaking on a panel with Sonam P. Wangdi, Secretary of the National Environment Commission, Bhutan; Bintony Kutsaira, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Malawi; and Javier Manzanares, Deputy Executive Director, Green Climate Fund.

While the Bhutanese official called on the international community to consider replenishing the Green Climate Fund (GCF) noting that the LDCs are in a dire situation, Dr. Adesina acknowledged the $93.7 billion needs but stated firmly; “I am not going to sit here and mourn and complain. As African Development Bank, we are bent on making sure that we have more resilient economies, making sure that we use more of our renewable energy and making sure we mobilise funds from within africa for both climate adaptation and mitigation. 75 percent of all the adaptation needs of africa is going to come from the private sector. That is why at the African Development have launched what we call the African Decarbonization Index.” Still harping on initiatives taken to make the continent autonomous in dealing with its climate issues, and without relieving big polluters of their responsibilities, he disclosed that together with other multilateral development banks, the AfDB  will make sure the required replenishment of the GCF is done.  “We have committed ourselves to make payments to climate finance that would reach 65 billion by 2025.The African Development Bank is at almost 49 percent of its climate financing which is expected reach $25 billion by 2035.  Forty-nine percent will be spent on adaptation and 51 percent on mitigation,” he said.

Africa needs between $7 to $15 billion a year for adaptation alone. The AfDB offered 1 million US dollars each to Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe when the countries were hit by cyclones this year. They were also given $102 million for reconstruction of infrastructure, according to the AfDB President. 

“What the bank needs is not exaltation but financing. That is why the Disaster Risk Insurance Facility is crucial. Countries pay their own premiums, not looking for handouts. But then, many of these countries are small island states that are very poor. They did not cause climate change and should not bear the brunt. We need this facility to copay the insurance for them,”Dr Adesina said.He also mentioned that Africa is way beyond complaining about lack of finance and announced that in Africa, they have taken the decision to create the African Finance Alliance for Climate which will bring Central Banks, Pension Funds, Stock Exchange Markets to align their investments towards green growth. That way, about 1.2 trillion dollars that is in these institutions will be directed towards green growth. 

He also disclosed that the AfDB hosts the NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) hub for Africa.”So we actually provide a significant amount of support to African countries in terms of developing their own climate action programs. Secondly we have mainstreaming climate change in all our support schemes. So when we make loans and investments, we make green investments. When it comes to energy, we are at the front end of working with countries to be using renewable energy. We are also building centers of excellence that support countries in implementing their climate finance agenda.

At the end of the summit where some 66 countries presented their climate action plans, UNSG, Antonio Guterres commended participants for making far reaching commitments. But Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute, saw it differently.  “While countries were expected to come to the Summit to announce that they would enhance their climate ambition, most of the major economies fell woefully short. Their lack of ambition stands in sharp contrast with the growing demand for action around the world. Many businesses and investors are ramping up their efforts, which should increase momentum. Similarly, smaller nations, especially the most vulnerable countries, are pushing ahead. But we need far greater national leadership on climate action– and we need it now,” he said.

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