AfDB and GEF boost renewable energy projects across Africa and urban planning in Cameroon

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The Global Environment Facility (GEF) announced on April 15, 2016, the approval of USD 18 million in funding for two projects co-financed with the African Development Bank (AfDB). The first project aims at supporting African countries to shift toward renewable energy (RE) infrastructure through the preparation of RE projects, while the second seeks to help Cameroon to improve its urban planning and waste management.

About USD 10 million will support the preparation of RE projects to be eligible for financing under the AfDB private and public sector windows. The remaining USD 8 million, channeled through the AfDB, will help to provide technical assistance to boost capacity of city management in urban planning and integrated transport management. It will establish controlled landfills, prohibiting hazardous waste management practices, backed by policy and legal frameworks that encourage sustainable chemical and waste management in Cameroon. 

The AfDB’s participation in this initiative was described as critical. Kurt Lonsway, the Bank’s Manager for Environment and Climate Change, stated, “The AfDB’s increasing role as a major GEF implementing agency reflects our capacity to combine these projects with our own investments, in addition to public and private financing to achieve mutually shared goals of green and inclusive growth. Through our combined efforts we will be more successful in addressing the region’s renewable energy and sustainable urban development challenges.”

Statistics indicate that more than 640 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa (almost two-thirds of the population) live without electricity. As populations grow, the continent is likely to fall short of achieving universal access to energy by 2030. Renewable energy resources could potentially cover the energy requirements of the entire continent if the right investments are made, further stimulating the region’s rapid economic and social development. Analysts say for African countries to shift towards a more sustainable model, financing must target renewable energy infrastructure. In order for this to happen, technological, institutional, environmental, social, and financial barriers to private sector involvement in renewable energy investment on the continent must be eased. You need to attribute this statement.

In addition to the USD 10 million GEF support, other instruments such as the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) – a USD 955 million initiative that invests in the preparation and development of renewable energy projects – also focuses on tackling  financial barriers by enhancing available resources for renewable energy projects in Africa.

Besides addressing energy challenges, urgent reforms are needed to tackle waste management and urban transportation, which will halt further increases in hazardous air, water, soil pollution, floods, and water-borne diseases in Cameroon. The country’s population nearly doubled between 1998 and 2010, resulting in increased greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, among other challenges, particularly in its two main cities of Douala and Yaoundé.

Further to GEF’s USD 8 million contributed through the AfDB for waste management, a USD 168 million project – Integrated Sustainable Urban Development and Environmentally Sound Management of Municipal Solid Waste in Cameroon – is working to address the root causes of environmental degradation in the country’s urban areas. The project aims to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions through the introduction of integrated and environmentally sound urban management practices.

Since 2007, the growing partnership between the GEF and the AfDB has focused on generating environmentally smart and transformational change in Africa. By March 2016, the overall portfolio of projects funded by GEF and managed by the AfDB amounted to USD 303 million, leveraging more than USD 2.7 billion in co-financing. This has been allocated to 36 projects and programs covering 27 countries in Africa.