The 2019 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group will be held from 11-14 June 2019, in Malabo, Republic of Equatorial Guinea. Find out more
Written by Ernest Achonu
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have organized a two-day workshop in Tunis aimed at familiarizing AfDB staff with cost-effective ways of accessing enhanced GEF resources for environment and climate change related operations. Through presentations and discussions on strategies, projects and programmes, the GEF delegates and AfDB-GEF coordinator advised operational staff and task managers on how to improve accessibility to GEF environment funds.
The Advisor to GEF CEO, Sekou Toure, called on AfDB operational staff to “take advantage of substantial GEF grants and concessionary funding to cover agreed incremental costs associated with transforming national or regional projects and programmes into agreed global environmental benefits, instead of investing the Bank’s resources on such projects.”
Mr. Toure noted that GEF has a quality result measurement system and very high deliverables to meet the expectations of over 50 participants from the Bank’s operational sectors. He said that if the World Bank and the UNDP could vie for more GEF grant resources, there was no reason why the AfDB should not seek enhanced GEF funding for its operations in Africa. To improve AfDB access to increased GEF resources, Mr. Sekou Toure said that Bank Management had a certain role to play at corporate level. He highlighted other requirements such as the need for country ownership and country–driven programming. He defined the MDBs overall family operations in environment within the context of global aspirations and the need for what he termed a baseline investment project under the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action.
In her presentation, GEF-AfDB coordinator, Siham Mohamed Ahmed, revealed that the Bank joined the GEF in November 2005 as an executing agency, with direct access to GEF resources and that the Environment and Climate Change Division acts as GEF focal point. According to her, the Bank had increased its pipeline of projects in climate change, biodiversity, land conservation, and water management, among others, over the years, adding that on average, it was able to attract five US dollars for each one dollar GEF grant resource in co-financing. She said the current eight AfDB-approved projects estimated at USD 26 million would attract about USD 159 million through co-financing. These include:
Comparing these to some 657 projects estimated at USD 4.1 billion approved for the World Bank, Mrs. Mohamed Ahmed emphasized that AfDB GEF projects pipeline was expected to increase drastically following the workshop and the current USD 4.3 billion fifth GEF replenishment period which started in July 2010. She said that the AfDB had an achievable comparative advantage to mobilize a good share of this funding, particularly its capacity to work in the GEF focal areas, its field presence in most countries, as well as the fact that environment and climate change was becoming a core cross-cutting issue for the Bank.
The GEF was established in October 1991, uniting 180 member governments in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. It is currently the largest global environment project financier, providing grants for projects on biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, ozone depleting substances, persistent organic pollutants and international waters.
The workshop was opened by the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department Director, Hela Cheikhrouhou, and chaired by the Environment and Climate Change Manager, Kurt Lonsway. The second day was devoted mainly to a “projects clinic” and one-on-one discussions between the GEF delegates and AfDB operational staff and task managers from the energy, transport, water, private sector, agriculture and health Sectors. The objective of the one- on-one meetings was to initiate and facilitate preparation of projects and programmes under GEF 5. The AfDB’s programmatic approach to the challenges of Lake Chad Basin was among the key items discussed at the workshop.