UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and the COP28 President-Designate, Sultan al-Jaber, has called for a significant public and private finance boost to allow Africa to battle climate change.
In an address to the African Development Bank Annual Meeting (AfDBAM) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Jaber said Africa has huge potential for low-carbon growth and sustainable development.
“One critical challenge stands in its way – the lack of available, accessible, affordable finance. And this lack of finance is putting the world’s climate goals and Africa’s sustainable development at risk.”
He explained that regarding renewable energy, only two percent of the $3 trillion invested worldwide over the last twenty years had made its way to Africa, adding that a shift in the balance on climate finance to Africa can become a defining force in low carbon sustainable growth.
As a first step in closing this finance gap, Jaber called on developed nations to live up to their historical responsibilities and come through with the $100 billion in climate finance they pledged over a decade ago.
“Failure to do so has undermined trust in the multilateral process, which must be restored,” he said.
“There are encouraging signals coming from donor countries on this front, which I hope will soon be followed by concrete action.”
The Minister recalled that Africa’s 54 countries had done the least to cause climate change, contributing less than four percent of global emissions, identifying that over 700 million hectares of agricultural land across this continent are currently degraded, an area twice the size of India.
Africa is losing four million more every year, and droughts and famine are impacting lives and livelihoods, forcing migration and undermining the biodiversity that African people depend on for their livelihood.
At the same time, over 600 million people lack access to electricity, and almost one billion lack access to clean cooking fuel.
He indicated that transformational progress requires mobilizing the flow of private capital, which can be accomplished through fundamental reform of IFIs and MDBs, which are necessary to unlock much more concessional finance, lowering risk, and attract private capital.
“COP28 is exploring additional mechanisms to supercharge the flow of private finance to Africa,” he said.
“By adopting policies and regulations that create a favorable investment climate for the private sector, African governments can build a robust pipeline of sustainable investment.”
Jaber noted that the gap in adaptation funding is also significant.
“Donor countries need to double their commitment to adaptation finance by 2025,” he said.