The AfDB at the African Carbon Forum: Promoting Clean Development Mechanism

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) participated actively at the 2nd Africa Carbon Forum (ACF) held in Nairobi, Kenya (3-5 March 2010).

The ACF is a regional platform established to promote knowledge and information sharing including business facilitation among the main carbon market players in the region. The Forum gathered together project developers, buyers, service providers, financial institutions, United Nations Agencies and Development Institutions, Designated National Authorities (DNAs) and other private and public sector stakeholders.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Hela Cheikhrouhou, Manager of the Infrastructure Finance Division at the Private Sector Department of the AfDB, stated that “It is clear that carbon financing mechanisms such as the CDM are important, as through them projects can obtain the additional revenues necessary to make projects profitable and to bring the tariffs down.

The CDM should thus be a tool that helps make projects bankable. It provides an opportunity to shape Africa’s infrastructure development in a more sustainable fashion than conventional technologies and to build on experiences of other parts of the world”.

Yogesh Vyas, Senior Advisor to Vice President in charge of Infrastructure, Regional Integration and Private Sector, participated as the Bank’s representative in the Nairobi Framework (NF) Partners’ meeting to reiterate Bank’s support to its member countries, NGOs and private sector for promoting CDM in their projects.

He said that “The 2nd Africa Carbon Forum was a great success exemplified by the level of participation of the various African institutions and a strong project pipeline with potential eligibility for CDM”. The Nairobi Framework was launched in November 2006, by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, aimed at spreading the benefits of the CDM.

The African Development Bank approved a Clean Energy Investment Framework (CEIF) in 2008, and is actively providing financing, as well as offering advice and grant support to enterprises on the structuring of such projects.

The Bank also gives technical assistance to governments to introduce a conductive legal, regulatory and institutional framework. Infrastructure development, with emphasis on clean energy, is among the priority sectors outlined in the Bank’s Medium Term Strategy and its Private Sector Development Strategy. The clean energy portfolio of the Bank stands at about USD $2.5 billion and is set to grow. The Bank is also an active partner in a number of important initiatives like the Climate Investment Funds, the East Africa Co-Generation and Greening the Teas Association programs, and the Seed Capital Facility. All of these initiatives aim at fostering greater investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

DNogoye Thiam, Climate Change and Energy Expert at the Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Unit (OSUS), stated in the session on “Renewable Energy: Opportunities in Africa” that “Strong political will is needed from African governments to move from mere declarations of renewable energy targets to actual implementation.  The CEIF offers an opportunity to adequately address renewable energy needs in the continent”.

The Bank further emphasized during a side event it hosted, its leadership role in Africa in supporting the implementation of REDD+ in Africa. The Bank presented its initiative to reduce emissions in sectors in Africa with certain deficits, particularly in land use and forestry, through the Congo Basin Forest Fund that it is hosting. This is a successful initiative in which the Bank promotes reforestation, supports alternative livelihoods thereby reducing poverty while addressing the adverse impacts of climate change.

Last year the Bank started rolling out annual training workshops for CDM Designated National Authorities (DNAs) to specifically build their capacities on the implementation of REDD+.

The ACF 2010 meeting which brought together more than 1000 stakeholders facilitated discussions on new developments in the international carbon market, sharing of best practice and practical workshops on the different sectors and technologies for CDM, and lessons learned for the implementation of CDM projects in Africa. The NF Partners are formulating plans for a third Africa Carbon Forum to be held in March 2011 in Morocco.