AfDB at Rio+20: Smoothing Way to Green and Thriving Africa

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is at Rio+20 to voice Africa’s agenda until 22 June, with fellow African institutions such as the African Union Commission and the UN Economic Commission for Africa and many leaders from across the continent. The theme for Rio+20 is “The Future We Want.” Africa cannot afford to miss this opportunity to push for the future it wants with a development agenda that matches its aspirations.

For Africa, the stakes at Rio+20 are high. Africa is dependent upon its natural resources to grow and develop. It has contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions but suffers the most. Droughts, floods and other water-related phenomena are among the clearest signs of climate change. And it is water, energy, and food security that will play the largest role in Africa’s ability to build its economy, increase prosperity and jobs, and preserve the environment.

The AfDB has demonstrated its unwavering commitment and its capacity to deliver on Africa’s sustainable development agenda. It has developed its Green Growth Vision Paper and is investing about USD6.4 billion over a five-year period from 2011 to2015 through its Climate Change Action Plan in the energy, transport, water and agriculture sectors to support low-carbon and climate-resilient development in Africa.

In developing its infrastructure program for Africa, the AfDB has run carbon cost scenarios and used environmental and social sustainability as part of its selection criteria. The transport department is shifting focus to emphasize greener modes of transport such as rapid urban mass bus systems and building climate resilience into existing and planned projects. The AfDB has invested more than USD 1 billion over the last five years in water projects that equip African economies with the infrastructure they need to manage decreasing or more volatile rainfall.

As sustainable development finance remains a critical concern for African economies, the AfDB has invested in a suite of creative financing and support instruments, such as the Congo Basin Forest Fund, ClimDev-Africa Fund, Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa, African Water Facility, and Africa Carbon Support Program

The AfDB’s delivery on sustainable development rests on a strong intellectual foundation. Over the past year, the Bank has engaged extensively in international discussions, such as the World Water Forum, COPs of the UNFCCC, Climate Investment Funds Partnership Forum, Africa Carbon Forum, and providing support for the African Group of Negotiators in the UN processes.

The discussions in Rio + 20 will offer the opportunity to build the planning and policy structures, measurement systems to address the converging food, water and energy challenges.  Sustainable development has three pillars: economic, environmental and social. They will be highlighted through several events during next week, including:  

  • Financing sustainable development in Africa on Sunday 17 June
  • Promoting a green economy  on Monday 18 June
  • Africa day on Tuesday 19 June
  • Recognising Africa’s ecological footprint on Thursday 21 June
  • Sustainable energy for all on Thursday 21 June.