Private Sector Operations Team Supports Green Growth During Agribusiness and Forestry Conferences in Ghana

06/09/2012
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Representatives from the Industries and Services division of AfDB’s Private Sector Operations Department (OPSM.2) participated in the Rubber Plant & Palm Oil Africa conference from September 4-7 in Accra, Ghana.

The OPSM.2 team contributed to the roundtable discussion on “Agriculture Financing Facilities & Risk Mitigation in Africa”, alongside representatives from IFC and Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, and presented its agricultural strategy and non-sovereign instruments in support of private sector-led agribusiness developments in Africa.

Africa represents a significant palm-oil market, currently importing 4.5 million tons per annum. However, despite its huge agricultural potential, favourable climatic conditions and accessible land, Africa produces only two million tons per year. The palm oil sector traditionally faces criticism regarding its environmental impact, according to Mouhamadou Niang, Manager of the Industries and Services division, but it does have some overlooked benefits: “Industrial palm oil projects in Africa can be aligned with development goals when they involve certain parameters that the Bank supports. These parameters include medium-size exploitations; the mitigation of deforestation of primary forests, while ensuring the rehabilitation of abandoned palm plantations and impacted land; and a contribution to inclusive growth and community development through outgrower schemes and local SME business linkages.”

Following this agribusiness event, OPSM.2 took part in the second annual Working Conference “Boosting Investments in Sustainable Forestry, Forest Carbon and Renewable Energy” in Accra from September 5-7.

This second edition of the working conference, initiated by the Bank’s Private Sector Operations Department, was opened by the Bank’s Resident Representative in Ghana, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade. The first edition of the conference was hosted by FMO, the Entrepreneurial Development Bank in the Netherlands.

This working conference, co-sponsored by the Bank, FMO, the African Biofuel and Renewable Energy Company (ABREC), Nyenrode Business University and Afreximbank, and attended by OSAN, OPSM and ONEC, focused on the increased recognition of the economic importance of forest ecosystems and their role in climate change mitigation. This recognition in Africa gives rise to new business opportunities in sustainable forestry, forest carbon, and renewable energy, particularly in emerging markets and on the continent. Revenues from forestry range from timber and non-timber forest products, and water exploitation rights, to the generation and/or trading of carbon credits and renewable energy.

During the conference opening, Mrs. Akin-Olugbade reiterated the Bank’s support of green growth in African countries: “The Bank is ready to support governance initiatives that are tailored to country circumstances and target opportunities for green investment, innovation in sustainable infrastructure, and securing the productivity of natural capital. In addition to policy support, the Bank is committed to continuing to finance public and private sector operations which are committed to reducing and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Over the next five years, the Bank will invest about US $6.4 billion to support low-carbon and climate-resilient development in Africa through investments in the energy, transport, water and agriculture sectors.”