Climate change in Africa: “A race we must win and a race we will win,” African Development Bank says

Fighting climate change with robust implementation of national commitments and partnerships was the main thrust of African Development Bank’s Director of Climate Change and Green Growth, Dr. Anthony Nyong’s closing remarks at the end of Africa Climate Week.

“The vibrancy of these last few days says it all, Africa is engaged. Africa is not a victim; we are a partner in the fight against climate change. We are a solid market, with significant resources to move the needle on the global temperature goal. Climate change is a race we can win, a race we must win, and, with Africa’s participation, it is a race we will win,” said Nyong, who was named among the world’s 100 “Most Influential People in Climate Policy”for his impact on influencing climate policy on the continent.

The Africa Climate Week 2019, attended by 3,000 participants, ended on March 23, 2019, after a five-day programme of events focusing on actions to meet the 1.5oC temperature goal and building climate resilience both of which are inked in the Paris Agreement. The summit was held in Accra, Ghana and was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Ghana.

The week ended with a summary event where key takeaways were presented to Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for this year’s Climate Action Summit, as input into the September 2019 UN climate Summit.

African policymakers remained focused on the opportunities to deliver their countries’ national climate action plans under the Paris Agreement (Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs). Adequate capital flows to the continent and skills development remain a barrier to meeting the NDC targets. Enabling environments and customer designed financial instruments, such as green and climate-themed bonds, special-purpose bonds, and crowdfunding are possible avenues to alleviate the problem.

The African Development Bank continues to lead in the fight against climate change by ensuring investments within African countries boost economies while also delivering climate co-benefits.

Bank President, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina announced the Bank’s increase of climate finance to at least US$25 billion for the period 2020-2025, at the One Planet Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya last week.

Together with partners such as the Green Climate Fund and the EU, the Bank approved financing for the first project under The “Desert to Power” program, the Yeleen Rural Electrification Project in Burkina Faso. “Desert to Power” is a $10 billion initiative to build a 10 GW solar zone across the Sahel—the largest in the world.

At the margins of the Africa Climate Week, the African Development Bank hosted a partners’ meeting for the Africa NDC Hub. The Hub was established at COP23 to pool individual institutional NDC support initiatives to foster coordination and efficient ways to deploy scarce resources. The Africa NDC Hub Secretariat is hosted by the Bank and works closely with the NDC Partnership on country engagement programmes.

Africa Climate Week is the first of three annual regional climate events this year – the others being the Latin America & Caribbean Climate Week and the Asia Pacific Climate Week. The Africa Climate Week is organised annually by the Nairobi Framework Partnership members: World Bank Group, African Development Bank, West African Development Bank (BOAD), CTCN, UN Environment (UNEP), UNEP DTU Partnership, UNDP, International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), Marrakech Partnership and UN Climate Change.