African Countries Call for Accessible and Efficient Climate Finance

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The 2011 Climate Investment Funds (CIF) Partnership Forum, hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), ended today with African countries clearly showing their willingness to tackle climate change effects head on. The challenge remains adequate access to climate change financing for Africa.

“The bottom line is that there is an urgent need to improve access to climate finance at the scale required for transformational impact in Africa,” said Bobby Pittman, Vice President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration at the African Development Bank.  “Mechanisms need to be put in place that can best respond to Africa’s needs,” he added.

Under the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund, a total of USD197 million was approved for the 165 megawatt Ouarzazate I Concentrated Solar Project in Morocco.

This is a large-scale investment that is expected to reduce the costs of concentrated solar energy and help create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Morocco by 2020, notably by developing local renewable manufacturing. Morocco is partnering with the African Development Bank and World Bank, two partners in the Climate Investment Funds, on this project.

The African Development Bank recently introduced financing for concentrated solar power in Sub Saharan Africa through a financial package to South Africa totaling USD 365 million. Its aim is to help the country ‘green’ its energy sector. The financial package included a loan of USD 265 million, as well as a USD 100 million concessional loan from the Clean Technology Fund. The package will support South Africa’s national electricity utility, Eskom, in implementing a USD 1.3 billion renewable energy project including concentrated solar power and the first utility-scale wind power plant in South Africa.

Climate resilient programs approved during the Forum include USD 86 million for Mozambique to improve the capacity of roads and coastal cities to withstand climate change, transform its hydro-meteorological services, and enhance climate-resilient agricultural production and food security. Zambia will receive USD 86 million to strengthen climate resilience in Barotse and the Kafue River Basin.

In the forestry sector, two new investment plans have been approved: USD 32 million for Burkina Faso to decentralize sustainable forest management, encourage participatory protection of state forest reserves, and integrate information-sharing; and USD 60 million for the Democratic Republic of Congo to address deforestation and degradation and provide small grants to promising small-scale initiatives falling within the Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program. The funding will also help the country to engage the private sector in REDD+.

Pilot initiatives, which provide a small amount compared to the country needs but help demonstrate that concessional funding can help African countries move ahead on climate smart development, were also approved.

“Through the Climate Investment Funds, we’re learning important lessons on climate action and helping inform the discussions on climate finance. It’s clear that Africa needs financing that reflects its priorities and challenges in responding to climate change,” the AfDB’s Bobby Pittman concluded.