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COP21 in Paris: the CFA franc zone joins the AfDB in calling for an ambitious agreement for Africa

(de gauche à droite) Janvier Litse, vice-président de la BAD p.i. ; Michel Sapin, ministre français de l’Économie et des Finances ; Youssouf Ouedraougo, conseiller spécial du président de la BAD ; Hela Cheikhrouhou, directrice exécutive du Fonds vert pour le climat ; Seyni Nafo, porte-parole du groupe africain, CNUCC.

On April 9 and 10, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from CFA franc zone member states (Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, and Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC) met in Bamako to discuss sustainable growth, with a particular emphasis on environmental challenges and development funding viability.

In light of the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), the first roundtable debate focused on climate change and the issues facing CFA franc zone member states. The discussions were attended by Michel Sapin, French Minister of Economy and Finance; Hela Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund; Seyni Nafo, African Group spokesperson to the United Nations Climate Change Conference; Janvier Litse, African Development Bank Acting Vice-President for Country and Regional Programmes and Policy; and Youssouf Ouédraogo, Special Adviser to the President of the AfDB. All the participants agreed on the need for African countries to place greater emphasis on climate funding.

According to Cheikhrouhou, Africa received just 5% of total climate funding in 2014. The discussions focused on facilitating access to this funding, as well as new mechanisms, such as the Green Climate Fund.

Litse highlighted the African Development Bank's contribution to combating climate change: "The AfDB launched a Climate Change Action Plan in 2011. This plan will reach its conclusion in December 2015. [...] Between 2011 and 2013, the Bank mobilised US $6.5 billion to support 80 climate resilience projects and 87 low-carbon projects."

The participants also heard about the AfDB's role in setting up the Green Climate Fund, as well as its work in helping countries to access climate funding. The AfDB has also provided assistance to the African Group, helping to formalise a unified African position prior to the COP21 conference.

The cost of climate change to Africa is extremely high. Nafo revealed several alarming statistics, including an estimate that Africa could lose up to 7% of its GDP without an effective climate change adaptation policy.

The CFA franc zone meeting also addressed a range of other topics of interest to the AfDB, including financial integration and capital markets, enhanced commercial policy integration at regional level, efforts to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism in the CFA franc zone, and government debt. These issues were discussed in light of CFA franc zone convergence criteria and multilateral surveillance system reforms in the ECOWAS and CEMAC zones.

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