Pictured: (From left – Prof. Dr Patrick Verkooijen, CEO, Global Center on Adaptation, H.E Macky Sall, President of Republic of Senegal)
H.E. Macky Sall, the President of Senegal and CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), and Patrick Verkooijen have partnered to unlock $1 billion in climate finance for the west African nation under the Africa Adaptation Accelerator Program (AAAP). The move follows from a brief visit to the region by UN Secretary-General, H.E. António Guterres – his first trip to the continent since the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Republic of Senegal has already been taking strides toward sustainable development and socioeconomic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but as H.E. Guterres noted, the war in Ukraine has compounded matters – driving up food prices and exacerbating energy shortages. President Sall has spoken prominently as to the need for investment to address the cascading crises of food, energy and finance caused by both COVID-19 and climate change impacts. The AU chairperson has also been named amongst six eminent world leaders as a champion for the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance established in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Elected as President of Senegal in 2012, one of H.E. Sall’s driving policy instruments has been the National Plan for an Emerging Senegal – a 2035 development framework for economic transformation, promotion of human capital and good governance. The document is arranged into a series of five-year Priority Action Plans (PAPs), the latest of which runs from 2019-24. Objectives of this PAP include the building of 100,000 new subsidized homes, establishing waste collection and treatment across all urban areas, and ensuring universal access to affordable and reliable electricity by 2025.
As Chairperson of the African Union for 2022, however, H.E. Sall represents not only Senegal but the African continent, thus this week’s climate finance partnership is a positive sign of initiatives to come as President Sall opens the Africa Adaptation Finance Forum and MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power Conference & Exhibition this September. Having been ratified last year in Glasgow at the COP 26 World Leaders Summit, the AAAP is a joint initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and GCA formed with full support from the African Union with the aim of mobilizing $25 billion for adaptation in Africa over five years. The AAAP recognizes that Africa currently receives less than 4% of global climate finance and seeks to balance the scales by leveraging investment under a pair of mechanisms: the upstream and downstream financing facilities. Since its inception, the AAAP Upstream Financing Facility has already mobilized $3 billion in investment.
With COP 27 in Egypt approaching this November, Senegal is in the spotlight with regards to its sustainable development and climate change adaptation mechanisms. Bordering the Sahara, extreme water events have already cost the country more than 10% of its GDP each year with internal climate migration expected to reach up to 1 million people by 2050. Thus H.E. Sall’s ambitious, hard-line approach to climate adaptation for the continent and his country is vital.
The $1 billion finance facility is set to be channeled into the AAAP’s four pillars namely, Climate-Smart Digital Technologies for Agriculture and Food Security, Africa Infrastructure Resilience, Youth Empowerment for Entrepreneurship and Job Creation as well as Innovative Financial Initiatives. Aims include reaching 30 million farmers; bolstering 26 African countries’ food security by increasing agricultural productivity by 40-70%; to influence $93 billion of infrastructure funding so that half might be specifically targeted towards enhancing climate resilience; to develop the skills of 1 million African youths; unlocking $500 million in credit for adaptation actions from youth-led enterprises; and to strengthen direct access to funds, mobilizing more than $3 billion in new concessional finance across more than 20 African countries.
The challenges faced by Senegal, the MSGBC region and Africa in its entirety are substantial but with the leadership of H.E. Sall, the African Union, Global Center on Adaptation, UN and Africa Development Bank, the future is bright and more so with large-scale investment prospects having been revived.
This year’s MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power Conference & Exhibition will gather key stakeholders from across Africa and globally, bolstering Africa’s energy future in gas and renewables under the auspices of President Macky Sall at the world-class Center international de Conférences Abdou Diouf (CICAD) in Dakar this September. As fresh power developments sweep the region, investors from the United States, Australia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East will join hundreds of senior delegates at this unprecedented gathering for Senegal and the MSGBC basin.