AfDB Hosts Congo Basin Forest Fund
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has been chosen to host the «Congo Basin Forest Fund» which currently has an initial contribution of US$ 100 million from the United Kingdom. Norway intends to contribute 50 million pounds to the Fund over the next three years. The Board of Directors of the Bank Group has endorsed the decision to host the fund up to 2018. The document will be submitted to the Board of Governors for approval. Other partners are expected to contribute to the fund which will be used to check deforestation by building capacity in the local population and in institutions in the Congo Basin. The fund will help local communities develop lifestyles that will help preserve Congo Basin forests by ensuring financing activities and projects, especially those that are in line with Central Africa Forests Commission (COMIFAC) Convergence Plan. The fund is also expected to closely work with other institutions and corporate bodies, including the Central African Republic, COMIFAC, Partners of the Congo Basin Forest, donor agencies, the civil society, NGOs and the private sector.
The establishment of the fund is in line with a larger initiative which calls for the creation of a global fund for environmental transformation which has been provided with US$1.5 million. This responds to wishes expressed by many global and African eminent personalities for the preservation of Congo Basin forests.
In partnership with COMIFAC and the UK, the Bank Group organized an international conference on financing mechanisms for the sustainable management of Congo Basin forests in Tunis, Tunisia in February 2008. The Tunis conference, which brought together representatives of technical and financial partners, the Central African Republic, and the civil society, was a critical moment in the creation of the special fund as it made it possible to work out details about the fund.
After playing a critical role in the creation of the special fund, the Bank Group will host the fund at its Temporary Relocation Agency in Tunis. Part of the fund’s staff will operate from Bank Group field offices in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Bank Group’s strong involvement in the creation of the special fund is an illustration of its commitment to environmental protection which gives priority to the preservation of the region’s ecological wealth as a key factor of economic growth. Many of aspects of its environmental policy, including African responses to challenges presented by climate change, were raised by Bank Group President, Donald Kaberuka, during the May 14-15, 2008, Annual Meetings in Maputo, Mozambique.