Between 2018 and 2020, 29.3 million people in Africa will get electricity from renewable energy projects financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), its President, Mr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has said.
Adesina, disclosed that in line with AfDB’s High 5 development priorities and, in particular, its agenda to Light up and power Africa, the Bank plans to reach this number of people with electricity supply by 2020. He indicated the number would grow up from the 3.8 million people that are currently beneficiaries of its intervention in the power challenges of African countries.
He stated that more funding for the energy portfolios of the AfDB was underway and that its financial commitment to renewable energy development has gone up to 100 per cent since he took charge in 2015.
Adesina, made this disclosure at the High Level Event on “New Way of Working: From Vision to Action-National, Regional and Global Dimensions” at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last Sunday.
He also pledged support for the New Way of Working, saying it was “crucially important”.
A statement from the AfDB, indicated that United Nations agencies signed a “Commitment to Action” document at the World Humanitarian Summit in which they agreed on a New Way of Working in crises.
Adesina, however said: “The African Development Bank is today at the forefront of investing in renewable energy in Africa. The share of renewable energy in the Bank’s energy portfolio increased from 14 per cent when I became President in 2015 to 100 per cent last year.”
He added: “Our support last year alone provided 3.8 million Africans with access to electricity. And, with adequate financing, we expect to reach 29.3 million people with access to electricity between 2018 and 2020.”
He called on the UN Secretary General to join him in supporting the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility to also work differently, and step up support to co-pay for climate risk insurance for vulnerable African countries.
This, he stated would help African countries hard hit by climate change and really pressed to find funds to pay the insurance premiums.
The statement also noted that the AfDB has stepped up and will support African countries to pay for insuring themselves against catastrophic weather events that displace their public expenditures.
In this regards, the Bank said it plans to provide $76 million in 2018 for the payment of insurance premiums, with participating countries providing $31.5 million and the African Risk Capacity Agency (ARC) providing $16 million.
According to it, latest figures indicate that over 20 countries have indicated interest in participating in its supported initiative.
“An understanding of the link between environmental degradation, extreme poverty and youth unemployment is critical to a New Way of Working. Wherever these three elements are present, there is a ‘Triangle of Disaster’, in which unemployment, poverty and environmental degradation chase each other in a downward spiral to dereliction, terrorism, violence and conflict,” explained Adesina.
He further said: “The African Development Bank brings this understanding to bear in its policies and programs. Africa’s Triangles of Disaster must become ‘Triangles of Prosperity,’ replete with jobs, wealth and environmental resilience. That is why we strongly welcome the New Way of Working initiative.”
The statement stated that the Bank has also committed to triple its climate financing to 40 per cent of new approvals by 2020, and is deploying programs and actions to combat fragility and strengthen resilience.
This, Adesina explained, includes the Sahel region with a $261 million program; the Horn of Africa with a $281.6 million program; and, for Lake Chad, now seriously affected by the degradation of its productive ecosystems, a $101 million program to restore the productivity of the basin ecosystem.
It also said the Desert to Power initiative spearheaded by the Bank will aim to turn Africa’s deserts into new sources of energy, by working with partners to develop 10,000 megawatts (MW) of solar power systems across the Sahel. The initiative, it added would be expected to provide electricity to 250 million people, with 90 million of these provided through off-grid systems.
“We have already started with development of a 50MW solar power system in Burkina Faso. The initiative will protect the Great Green Wall of trees established to protect against desertification in the Sahelian zone, from being cut down by energy-poor households for use as fuel wood. When completed, we expect this to be the largest solar power system zone in the world,” he noted.