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African countries reach tipping point as pilots for renewable energy, climate resilience and sustainable forests

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At its governing body meetings last week, the $8.1 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF) endorsed 9 African nations to serve as pilot countries for critical aspects of climate-smart development, with six pilot countries for climate resilience and three for sustainable forests. In addition, governments unanimously endorsed Ghana’s ambitious investment plan to transform and promote its renewable energy sector.

These endorsements, supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB), exponentially build on the current CIF AfDB portfolio, raising the number of pilot programs to 34 in 27 African nations, nearly half of the 54-country African region. The World Bank, International Finance Corporation and other development partners are also contributing to the pilots. The countries with new pilot programs can now begin their work to develop national investment plans for CIF endorsement.

“With this infusion of support, countries working through the CIF African portfolio have the opportunity to create the potential for major impacts on the ground combined with regionally leveraged knowledge and financing,” stated Kurt Lonsway, AfDB’s Manager of Environment and Climate Change, who led the African Development Bank’s delegation to the meetings. “We believe that this tremendous increase in support will ultimately help shift the nature of development throughout the continent in a more economically and environmentally sustainable direction.”

Under the CIF’s Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), six African countries were selected based on an Expert Group’s evaluation for vulnerability, enabling environment, and potential capacity for implementation, scoring among the top 15 nations worldwide. The six countries to receive PPCR support are Ethiopia, Gambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda. Of these, five also have renewable energy plans under the CIF and can use this additional endorsement to expand the landscape of their climate-smart development work by building climate resilience. For Gambia, this will be the first CIF-based investment plan. These six countries join Mozambique, Niger and Zambia as PPCR countries in the CIF AfDB portfolio. The countries newly endorsed by the PPCR can now begin the work to define their national Strategic Programs for Climate Resilience (SPCR), the foundational backbone of the PPCR.

Under the CIF’s Forest Investment Program (FIP), three African countries – Congo Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mozambique – were among the six countries worldwide endorsed as pilot countries. FIP will provide $145 million to the six countries to prepare their investment plans in a two-year time frame. Of these African countries, Congo Republic and Côte d’Ivoire are first-time pilot countries; Mozambique already has an active pilot program under PPCR. The three countries join Ghana, Burkina Faso, and DRC as AfDB FIP pilot countries. These six countries present a range of sectoral solutions including emission reduction, co-benefits for forest dependent communities, institutional capacity and preparedness for implementation, private sector engagement and participation, and support for REDD+.

In addition, FIP agreed to provide US $2.25 million to nine non-pilot countries for preparation of investment plans to enable the countries to access additional resources that may become available either through the FIP or other bilateral or multilateral sources, including the Green Climate Fund. African countries on the list include Cameroon, Rwanda, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia.

Under the CIF’s Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP), governments unanimously endorsed Ghana’s investment plan to transform its renewable energy sector. The plan, which is slated to receive $40 million in SREP funding, is structured around four key projects: renewable energy mini-grids and stand-alone solar PV systems; solar PV-based net metering with storage; utility-scale solar PV/wind power generation; and a technical assistance project (supported by the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa – SEFA). The country also has an active portfolio under the FIP, and the SREP decision allows the country to exponentially expand its landscape of climate-smart development overall.

About the Climate Investment Funds (CIF)

Established in 2008, as one of the largest fast-tracked climate financing instruments in the world, the $8.1 billion CIF provides developing countries with grants, concessional loans, risk mitigation instruments, and equity that leverage significant financing from the private sector, MDBs and other sources. Five MDBs – the African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and World Bank Group (WBG) – implement CIF-funded projects and programs.

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