France to increase funding for renewable energy in Africa

Paris Climate Conference/“The climate challenge and African solutions” summit – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Le Bourget, 1 December 2015

The French President, together with the United Nations Secretary-General, chaired a summit today, Tuesday 1 December, on the theme “The climate challenge and African solutions”, organized as part of COP21 at Paris Le Bourget.

The summit brought together 12 African heads of state, the African Union Commission Chairperson and representatives of several governments and international institutions (the World Bank, the African Development Bank).

During the summit, the Head of State affirmed his ambition for COP21 to provide an opportunity to implement practical projects in Africa, facilitate the adoption of a lower-carbon development model and support adaptation to the climate disruption being observed on the continent. He recalled that Africa, which was not responsible for climate change, is nevertheless already suffering its most serious consequences. He added that he shared the African countries’ wish that finance for Africa should be released as quickly as possible, without waiting for 2020.

François Hollande pledged to increase to more than €2 billion France’s funding for renewable energy in Africa over the period 2016-2020. This effort will represent a 50% increase in French bilateral commitments compared to the last five years. Projects financed by France can come under the framework of the African Renewable Energy Initiative, promoted by the African Union. They will enable projects designed both by African governments and by civil society organizations and local authorities to be implemented. These programmes can encourage the use of solar, wind, hydroelectic and geothermal power, depending on each country’s potential.

With regard to fight against desertification, and adaptation to climate change, the President said France would gradually triple its bilateral commitments in Africa, to reach €1 billion a year by 2020. This effort responds to the African countries’ call for sustainable development financing to be more dedicated than it is today to adapting to climate disruption. France’s development aid will focus primarily on projects which are part of the African initiatives the Great Green Wall and the protection of Lake Chad and the Niger River.

All these projects show that the Lima-Paris Action Agenda for the climate, a major objective of COP21, will be implemented in many forms on the African continent./.

Paris Climate Conference/“Climate challenge and African solutions” summit – Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic

Le Bourget, 1 December 2015

Among the events at the Climate Conference, we wanted there to be a meeting on Africa and on projects that could galvanize the whole continent. Without bringing together all the African heads of state and government – but their representatives here, through the institutions, will be able to speak on their behalf –, we wanted to talk about three subjects.

The subject of renewable energy, that of adaptation, and finally everything we want to do by means of the Great Green Wall, in particular, and Lake Chad. Those projects are directly linked to this degradation of the climate and to its effects on the African continent.

I’d like to thank all the participants, because we don’t have an assessment to make but we have decisions to take and also finance to ensure.

So first of all there’s the subject of renewable energy. Africa has great potential which remains largely untapped, and the Egyptian President will be able to introduce our discussions on this point, because it’s he who chairs the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change.

The African Union and the African Development Bank will also set out their projects because, for us, access to renewable energy – i.e. to electricity – will enable families not only to have light, do cooking and heat themselves but to take part directly in economic activities. France – and I’ll come back to this in my conclusion – wants to make Africans’ access to electricity a major priority, and we’ve already made progress on a number of solutions.

The second subject is the fight against desertification, particularly in the Sahel but not only in the Sahel, and there too we’ll have to act to ensure that agricultural production can be stepped up, that land can be protected and that we can guarantee food security.

To illustrate this challenge – and this will be the third phase of our discussion – we’ll set out actions relating to the Great Green Wall, which is supported by the African Union, but also what we can do for Lake Chad, because we know there’s not only an environmental crisis there but also a security crisis, given Boko Haram’s actions in the region.

That’s what will justify our discussions, ultimately with a shared dimension to all those challenges, namely finance: if there’s no finance there can be no action in these different areas. And that’s where the COP President will have to make the ministers work and where the heads of state should also make efforts to have the highest level of finance and ensure this finance is allocated to adaptation and to the challenges I’ve just described.

Let me hand over to the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon./.

Paris Climate Conference/"Climate challenge and African solutions" summit – Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy¹

Paris, 1 December 2015

In order to help reaching an ambitious agreement at COP21, the President of the French Republic organized a meeting on 1 December to support African solutions addressing the climate challenge in the Sahel region, in the presence of Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

It gave the opportunity to 14 African heads of state and government to present concrete initiatives and to get financial support from other states and development banks that attended the meeting, in order to implement these initiatives. About 20 delegations were represented.

This meeting is a response to a request addressed by Mr Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the President of Mauritania, Mr Idriss Déby, the President of Chad, Mr Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the President of the Republic of Mali, and Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, the President of the Republic of Niger.

The projects are:

• The right for all Africans to have access to electricity,

• The Great Green Wall project supported by the Pan African Great Green Wall Agency currently chaired by Mauritania,

• Enhancement of the Niger River Basin, and preservation of Lake Chad.

Africa is the continent that contributes the least to global greenhouse gas emissions, but it is very much affected by the effects of climate change, which represents a real and tangible threat in the daily lives of African people.

Ségolène Royal, head of the French delegation, had prepared this meeting during her tour in Africa last summer to meet with many African heads of state and government and visit emblematic sites, on the issue of solutions to the climate challenge.

France announced its intention to allocate €2 billion towards the development of renewable energy in Africa by 2020. France thus supports Africa to draw the world’s attention to the fight against desert encroachment in Africa (Sahel, Namib, Kalahari) and to the solutions that Africa has developed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The Great Green Wall is a large wall of trees from East to West of the African continent as a means to curb desertification. The project shows that mitigating emissions and adapting to climate change are closely related. The Great Green Wall will allow local populations to enrich the soil, preserve water resources, and improve the quality of their lives, while it will also provide a carbon sink.

The preservation and enhancement of Lake Chad and Niger River Basin mainly involve helping the communities who live there and make a living from the lake and the basin. Not only does this environmental decision help fight against desertification and food insecurity, but it is also an economic development opportunity for populations threatened by the rise of terrorism in this region occupied by Boko Haram.

Access to renewable energy will reduce deforestation. It will provide households, even the most isolated ones, with energy for domestic cooking, heating and lighting. It will allow businesses, hospitals, schools, and universities to operate. Promoting green energy is an absolute priority on a continent where 600 million people still have no access to electricity. Mr al-Sissi, the President of Egypt, presented the initiative adopted by the African Union in Johannesburg to mobilize Africa’s potential for renewable energy.

The World Bank has committed a total of $16 billion by 2020. It will support concrete initiatives such as promoting climate-smart farming practices, and developing programmes to fight coastal erosion and programmes to provide financial support to meteorological services./.

¹ Source of English text: French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

Published on 16/02/2016

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