Green Growth Now: An African Perspective

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Edith Jibunoh is in Lisbon this week attending the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Annual Meetings in Lisbon.

The AfDB is the premier finance development institution in Africa, building a track record for responsiveness to Africa’s development challenges, especially in infrastructure, as well as support in traditional social sector development.

On Tuesday, June 7th, the African Development Bank convened a stellar group of panelists to debate – “Green Growth Now: An African Perspective” where the discussions centered around the opportunities and trade offs of climate smart development in Africa, including the key issues that policy makers must address, and the role of different stakeholders in promoting green growth. Two new AfDB products were launched at this event, the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), which will support small and medium scale entrepreneurs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency subsectors, and the Africa Carbon Facility (ACF) which will support low carbon investments in Africa. Hela Cheikhrouhou, the Director of the AfDB’s Department for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, told me that SEFA is being supported by initial seed resources (approximately $60 million) from the Danish government and they are expecting other donors to support this instrument. Hela is also hopeful that these two funds will be able to access the “fast start” climate resources that have were committed by climate compliance countries during COP15 in December 2009.

Green growth is a very important topic in development today and is key to breaking the link between economic growth and the destruction of the environment. Hannah Ryder, a Senior Economist with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) told the audience that the her organization is doing it’s part to promote green growth and spoke about the importance of placing more emphasis on the “green” in green growth and stated that access to information and the encouragement of innovative solutions for Africa are the major critical tools needed for delivering green growth.

AfDB staff and counterpart government officials from the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic presented the projected clean energy potential of the Inga site on the Congo River which is estimated to deliver up to 40,000 MW and will benefit not just the people of the DRC but also people in countries well beyond the DRC borders.

In this early seminar in the series of events the AfDB will roll out this week, the institution showcased their willingness to take risks, promote innovation and be responsive to African countries need to adopt clean energy solutions that are adapted to the African context.

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