By Temitope Ponle, Balaclava (Mauritius).
The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it has inaugurated the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa (AGIA) to speed up the development of green infrastructure on the African continent.
The President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this in his opening remarks at the 2022 African Economic Conference (AEC) on Friday in Balaclava, Mauritius.
Adesina was represented by Prof. Kevin Urama, Acting Chief Economist and Vice-President of AfDB.
The 17th edition of the AEC, being held from Dec. 9 to Dec. 11, has “Supporting Climate-smart Development in Africa” as its theme.
The AfDB president said that green infrastructure was very limited in Africa and it could be seen in terms of its share of global green bonds that supported green infrastructure.
“Of the total US$522 billion of green bonds issued globally between 2007 to 2018, Africa accounted for only US$ 2 billion, the lowest share of all regions of the world.
“Africa also accounted for just 1.9 per cent of all green loans in 2021, and 1 per cent of global issuance of sustainability bonds and sustainability-linked loans and bonds.
“The shift to accelerating the development of green infrastructure will open great opportunities for the launch of more green bonds, and crowd in institutional investors that are driven increasingly by Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria in their investment decisions,” he said.
And speaking on the development of green infrastructure, Adesina said that it could increase Africa’s share of green bonds to 2.5 per cent globally.
He also said it could leverage about US$14 billion in green financing to boost Africa’s green infrastructure assets.
“We are achieving incredible success. Our ‘Feed Africa’ work has benefitted over 76 million farmers, with access to improved agricultural technologies.
“Our flagship programme, ‘Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation’ (TAAT), has delivered climate-smart seeds to 12 million farmers in 27 countries in just two years,” he said.
Adesina, however, said that it was time for Africa to produce its own food and achieve food sovereignty.
“Food aid cannot feed Africa; Africa must feed itself with pride. There is no dignity in begging for food. We must work and think smarter.”
Besides, the AfDB president said that the AEC 2022 provided an opportunity to reflect on the institutional capacities to build climate-smart development mechanisms.
He also said the conference supported African countries to build resilience and transition to low-carbon development pathways.
Adesina also spoke on how the bank had devoted 83 per cent of its financing for energy generation to renewable energy.
He said: “The bank is implementing the ‘Desert to Power’ initiative to build the world’s largest solar zone in the Sahel, to build 10,000 MW of solar energy and provide electricity for 250 million people.
“The bank plans to establish the ‘African Just Energy Transition Facility’, which will be used to support African countries to transition from heavy fuel oil and coal power plants to renewable energy systems.
“As we look at energy transition, we must ensure three imperatives. First, we must ensure access and affordability of electricity. Second, there must be security of supply. Third, gas must remain a critical part of the energy mix for Africa in the energy transition process.”
Adesina noted that the theme of AEC 2022 perfectly echoed the conclusions of the United Nations Climate Change Conference which was held in November.
“We should quickly move from pledges to action and implementation. No more talk but more actions!” he said.