"The AfDB is Implementing a Proactive Policy for Mitigating Climate Change", Says VP Pittman

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has adopted an aggressive climate change policy not because the resources are available, but because clients need it, the AfDB vice president for infrastructure, Bobby Pittman, said on Wednesday during a press conference on climate change and clean energy.

Mr. Pittman, who spoke within the framework of the AfDB 2010 Annual Meetings taking place in Abidjan, said “we must be proactive in evaluating projects and their impact on climate change.”

He illustrated his remarks with examples from projects that had been further examined and had been the subject of an impact study. He also pointed out that the Bank had just created a new energy department. “We want that African countries have access to strategic funds,” he stressed.

“We have a pipeline of 26 projects for a total of USD 11 billion and we want these reserves to grow. These projects will be carried out over the next three years,” he added, pointing out that the operations already involved countries with clean energy projects - solar, hydroelectricity, etc.).

His remarks were supported by the new energy department director, Hela Cheikrouhou, who attended the press conference.

“Our reserves are diversified …the AfDB is seeking to establish an equilibrium between clean and renewable energy through a clean development mechanism (CDM) and carbon markets," she said.

Regarding energy, she acknowledged that it was challenging accessing credit. With regard to solar energy, she stressed that it was expensive for African countries with the exception of North African countries, adding that “you must have clients who are ready to pay.” The alternative, according to her, was providing indirect support to small institutions through dedicated funds, given that the AfDB cannot carry out small operations due to its procedures.

The AfDB environment and social protection division Manager, Anthony Nyong, for his part, pointed out that the institution had done a lot for the clean development mechanism, adding that it had committed USD 30 million to build the capacity of regional institutions working in the climate sector.