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The African Development Bank (AfDB) in conjunction with UNFCCC and West African Development Bank (BOAD) convened the ECOWAS Green Investment Round Table on 21 June 2017 at AfDB Headquarters, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, aimed at catalyzing and launching a program of work initiatives that promote private sector finance and investment opportunities in the energy sector in West Africa region. Specifically, the meeting focused on catalyzing green investments to meet objectives of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
First, were opening remarks by Ivorian Minister for Safety, Environment and Sustainable Development, Anne Désiree Ouloto; and the AfDB Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Sector Complex, Amadou Hott.
Minister Ouloto noted the round table meeting was timely in addressing challenges related to sustainable development. She observed that financing climate change through investments that target reduction of green house gases and overexploitation of natural resources, helps vulnerable nations with mechanisms and instruments that are relevant, effective and accessible. “Côte d’Ivoire supports such initiatives,” she underscored.
The round table therefore presents a good opportunity to share ideas and experiences in green investment finance in West Africa and also stimulate other financial institutions and banks to engage in transition towards green economy for our nations, she added.
Also addressing the participants, Vice-President Amadou Hott stressed the need for new models of financing to achieve climate-compatible development. “The challenge of achieving climate-compatible development requires USD 1.5 trillion per annum. USD 700 billion is already flowing annually, leaving a climate investment gap of USD 800 billion p.a. Financing these investments requires new models where public finance is a vehicle to ‘crowd-in’ private sector finance,” he said. This involves reducing risk of green investments, increasing their investment grade and attracting institutional investors.
“AfDB is working on different approaches such as the Co-gurantee platform for renewable energy projects that we can work jointly with BOAD and GuarantCo to support renewable energy projects that require private finance”, Amadou added
AfDB’s Director for Transformative Energy Partnerships, Astrid Manroth presented the AfDB Co-guarantee facility. Other presentations included West African Development Bank (BOAD) Green Bonds Initiative and REEF (Renewable and efficient Energy Fund) as a component of global climate change funding mechanism. All these are de-risking instruments aimed at fostering green investment in Africa.
Discussions mainly centred around topics such as green climate and sustainable development investment potential in ECOWAS region, institutional framework, policies, challenges and opportunities. Options for enhancing green investment green investments including the development and access to regional and international capital markets, were also discussed
Participants recognized that innovative instruments such as green -debt, -bonds and de-risking financial instruments (such as the AfDB Co-guarantee platform, the BOAD Green Bond programme and the FONSIS Renewable and Efficient Energy Fund etc.) can play a major role in the mobilization of financial resources. They stressed the need to develop commonly agreed standards for “green” bond, as countries and financial institutions in the region seek low-carbon and resilient opportunities. They encouraged further awareness raising of regional financial and capital markets on investment opportunities.
A task force was put in place to facilitate formation of ECOWAS platform on finance for climate, with aims of knowledge management and dissemination, advocacy, investment mobilization, and coordination of investment efforts and activities, among others. The task force will also consider ways to enhance the existing ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) platform to enable it perform the platform functions. Participants agreed to hold the next meeting in mid-September 2017, to be hosted by the West African Development Bank (BOAD) in Lome, Togo. The ECOWAS platform on finance for climate will be launched at COP 23, which will take place in November 2017.
The meeting attracted more than 35 participants including representatives from UNFCCC, ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), FONSIS, GuarantCo, West African Development Bank (BOAD), Bouygues, Sunu (a leading insurance company) and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), among others. This meeting comes at a time when countries across Africa are working towards diversifying their economies, to encourage investment and to move beyond dependence on low value-added commodity exports – and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).