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We Must Accelerate Renewable Energy In Africa – Adesina

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has harped on the need to accelerate the development of renewable energy in Africa.

Dr. Adesina who made observation on Wednesday at the Finance in Common Summit hosted by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron and UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres for the Paris Peace Forum in collaboration with Public Development Banks, said the AfDB will no longer finance coal projects.

He also noted that the bank has embarked on the Desert to Power initiative to build the world’s largest solar zone in the Sahel region, and provide electricity for 280 million people.

According to him, to achieve the $20 billion investment to light up the Sahel requires financing coalition, complementarity and consolidation.

“I’d like to call on all public development banks, the civil society and philanthropic organizations to join the bank in this transformative effort to power Africa.

“Together, let’s do ‘Finance in Common’, let’s have financing coalition, financing complementarity and financing consolidation. I look forward to working with you all”, he said.

The president further pointed out that the gathering on Finance in Common shows the collective resolve of the critical stakeholders to keep their focus on sustainable development, even in the face of the pandemic.

“Nothing can dampen our collective resolve to provide better opportunities for all, to create hope for millions of youth, to end extreme poverty and to provide a better, safer and healthier future for all”, he added.

He however, pointed out that meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be much tougher now with the pandemic, adding that globally, the financing gap to achieve the SDGs by 2030 is estimated at $2.5 trillion per year.

“That’s been worsened with the pandemic. We now need all hands joined together.The Public Development Banks, with lending volumes of $2.3 trillion annually can meet 92 percent of all the financing gap for the SDGs.

“And just imagine: if those resources are well leveraged, with the private sector, and aligned with the climate agenda, we can meet and exceed the SDGs and the climate financing agendas”, he further explained.  

He said Public Development Banks offer such a powerful platform for the realization of this target, if they focus and align their financing to the SDGs and climate change. 

“That’s why we are here today. Let’s be bold. Let’s be creative. Let’s build this new ecosystem for transformative change”, he stressed.

Dr. Adesina also reaffirmed the commitment of the AfDB to supporting Africa to meet the SDGs and the climate change agenda agreed at COP21 in Paris.

“We’ve been very responsive in tackling the current pandemic. The bank launched a $10 billion facility to support Africa to contain the Coronavirus. We also launched a $3 billion fight COVID-19 social bond on the global capital market, the largest ever social bond in world history. 

“Yet, as we are tackling the pandemic, and saving lives, we are committed to supporting economic recovery, to rebuild Africa’s economies, stronger, bolder, better and with greater resilience. We must all continue to focus on closing Africa’s massive annual infrastructure financing gap estimated at $ 68-108 billion”, he added. 

To advance this, according to him, the public development banks should invest in private sector for infrastructure, adding that Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) should become the norm for infrastructure financing, to reduce infrastructure-related debts.

“We must leverage more foreign direct investment to Africa. The Africa Investment Forum is Africa’s structured investment market place and leveraging platform. In two years of its existence, the Africa Investment Forum attracted $78.1 billion of investment interests to Africa.

“Public Development Banks should all join hands with the AfDB and partners to create an massive investment rebound to Africa. The next Africa Investment Forum will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in November 2021. We must leave no one behind. For that we must prioritize financing for fragile states.

“We must collectively address the huge financing gap for women. Development promise without women is simply an empty promise. Financing gap for women in Africa is estimated at $42 billion”, he disclosed.  “

The president added that AfDB’s AFAWA programme is currently working to unlock $5 billion in financing for women in the next five years.

“I’d like to applaud President Macron for helping to launch and mobilize substantial financing for AFAWA during the G7 Summit in France. As of June 2020, $138 million were approved for women through 10 financial institutions in seven countries. Public development banks are welcome to join this largest ever effort in Africa to tilt financing towards women in Africa”, he added. 

He also noted that the bank will be working with governments to launch Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks to create a new (scalable, systemic and sustainable) financial ecosystem for unlocking entrepreneurship and growing the businesses of the youth.

“The goal is to spur youth-led innovation and business ventures, create quality and decent jobs, and turn Africa’s youth demographic advantage into assets for Africa. I would like to ask Public Development Banks to join us in this new bold effort for Africa, including innovations to develop and expand local capital markets”, he further explained.

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