ADB banks on a green Africa

(Wanjohi Kabukuru ADDIS ABABA 13TH/OCTOBER/2010) African Development Bank’s (ADB) President Donald Kaberuka on Wednesday reiterated the bank’s commitment to climate change and governance.

kaberukaAddressing the first plenary session of the Seventh African Development Forum (ADF-VII) under the sub-theme: “High Level Leadership Dialogue on Governance and Leadership Response to Climate Change” Kaberuka noted that “climate change and governance issues are interlinked. In the same high level panel with Kaberuka were Ethiopian prime minister, Ato Meles Zenawi, Norwegian Premier Jens Stoltenberg, and UN Special envoy on climate change Festus Mogae. The open session which stirred great debate at the packed United Nations Conference Centre main conference hall was chaired by African Union (AU) chief Jean Ping and was moderated by UN Under Secretary General Achim Steiner.

In the hall everyone expected the session to be placated by the usual diplomatic niceties. This was never to be as a lively debate ensued with Kaberuka, Zenawi, Mogae and Stoltenberg engaging the delegates drawn from government, media and civil society estimated to be close to 700 in a lively debate.

In recent years ADB has played a lead role in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Since 1999 when the African Development Forum was initiated, ADB has been one of the triumvirate drivers of this all important biennial development congress in the continent. The other two are United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU). ADB is looking at climate change in relation to human development; trade; ecosystem sustainability; capacity building; agriculture food and security among others climate related financial obligations.

Kaberuka noted that Africa’s financial institutions which mobilize some $420 billion annually are capable to handle and manage the $100billion climate change financing that is at the centre of negotiations between the developing south and the developed north.

“Leadership in climate change financing must be demonstrated in two ways. Donors need accountability and the recipients need tangible results” said Kaberuka.

The panel consisted of key people at the heart of the climate change negotiations. At COP 15 the African group led by PM Zenawi had requested for at least 40% of the pledges in the Copenhagen accord to be disbursed to Africa and ADB was requested to host and implement the continent’s share of the funds. Since COP15 in Copenhagen last year, ADB has moved fast and has now established the African Green Fund (AGF), which will among other things receive, manage and disburse resources allocated to Africa.

To gain access to these funds, member countries, and approved institutions can access grants, risk mitigation instruments and concessionary loans to support public and private sector investments in Africa.

“The AGF will provide a balanced allocation to both mitigation and adaptation and respond directly to national concerns through nationally defined objectives.” Kaberuka affirmed.