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Civil Society calls on the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance a Just Recovery

November 10, 2020

Africa-wide — In an Open Letter led by 350Africa.org and African Climate Reality Project, 167 organisations have come together to call on the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) to finance Africa’s Just Green Recovery and light up the continent with 100% renewable energy, ahead of the first-of-its-kind Finance in Common (FIC) Summit. Taking place from 9 to 12 November 2020,the summit aims to obtain commitments from participating banks to align their policies with climate, sustainable development, and biodiversity goals.

Yasmine Luhandjula, the Campaigns Coordinator for African Climate Reality Project said,

“We could solve Africa’s energy poverty if governments and financial institutions were to prioritise investments in renewable energy, along with having strict measures in place to ensure that no fossil fuels projects are funded. We are calling on the AfDB to prioritise the development of a fossil fuel finance exclusion policy that states that the bank will not fund, provide financial services, or capacity support to any coal, gas, and oil project on the African continent – and to ensure that civil society has the opportunity to weigh in on this policy during the development process. AfDB can and must do more to support Africa’s resilience and climate ambitions, with investments in youth skills development at the forefront of their efforts.”

Landry Ninteretse, the Africa Team Leader of 350.org said,

“We as the civil society and concerned citizens of Africa are firm that the future the world needs is one that no longer burns fossil fuels for energy generation. It is totally unacceptable that public financial institutions continue to fund fossil fuel projects while millions hardest hit by the climate and pandemic crisis are struggling to get appropriate healthcare, social protection and economic assistance. Development banks such as the AfDB need to lead the way and direct public money to a truly healthy, equitable, sustainable and just recovery. That would be a first and solid step towards building real resilience for the people and the planet.”

At this iconic gathering, 450 global public development finance institutions,  controlling approximately $2 trillion in public money across the globe, will identify appropriate measures to facilitate a just recovery from COVID-19 as well as a transition to more sustainable economic systems for all. Discussions will also centre on addressing the common need for new forms of prosperity that build the resilience of people and the planet. 

Civil society organizations are calling for the rapid and just energy transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. A just transition is urgently needed not only to combat climate change, but also to solve energy poverty and provide economic empowerment through access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for the 580 million Africans without access to electricity. 

The President of the AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, stated in September 2019 at the United Nations Climate Action Summit that the Bank would be “getting out of coal”, which the same civil society groups have commended on several previous engagements with the Bank. However no clear commitments or policies have been introduced by the AfDB since this statement, and fossil fuel projects have continued to be supported through the Bank across Africa.

The Open Letter including the list of signatories can be read here, and individuals can add their name to the corresponding petition here.

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