Nordic Development Fund teams up with ECA and partners on unique climate resilience facility

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2 May 2017 (ECA) - AFRI-RES, a unique facility to support climate proofing of Africa’s long-lived infrastructure investments, was given significant impetus with the formal approval of funding of 5 million Euros by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) for its programme activities.

AFRI-RES, an Africa-based facility, is aimed at strengthening the capacity of governments and institutions including river basin authorities, Regional Economic Communities and power pools as well as the private sector to plan, design, and implement infrastructure investments that are resilient to climate variability and change.

Conceived as a partnership between the World Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Union Commission (AUC), AFRI-RES will promote the integration of climate change considerations into the planning and design of long-lived infrastructure investments in Africa such as in the implementation of the continent’s Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA) and other regional, sub-regional or national programmes of strategic relevance.

The infrastructure projects identified in PIDA require investments of at least US$ 360 billion by 2040, with approximately US$ 70 billion needed by 2020.

According to the World Bank’s 2010 Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic report, the cost of meeting Africa’s infrastructure deficit is around US$ 93 billion per year, including about US$ 30 billion for maintenance.

Most of these investments will be in support of long-lived infrastructure in sectors that are sensitive to climate change and variability such as energy, water, transport and agriculture.

The Afri-RES, whose Secretariat will be located in the ECA’s African Climate Policy Center, was unveiled at the African Union Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism that was held in Lome, Togo, in March.

A central function of AFRI-RES is to facilitate interaction between policy makers, financiers, project developers, and scientific and engineering experts in order to develop and mainstream new practices that deliver climate resilient infrastructure in Africa.

Abdalla Hamdok, Acting ECA Executive Secretary, said; “Fit-for-purpose infrastructure is essential for the socio-economic transformation of African economies and attaining regional integration”.

He said with a huge infrastructure deficit, Africa has the opportunity to adopt a new climate economy approach to meeting its development agenda, supported by quality infrastructure that is resource efficient, safe, resilient to climate change and uncertainty, as well as being transformational.

“The support comes at a time when the ECA is repositioning its African Climate Policy Centre as the knowledge centre for climate resilient development policies in support of Africa’s new development paradigm as framed by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the continent’s Agenda 2063, recognizing that climate change and development are two sides of the same coin,” said Mr. Hamdok.

ECA Special Initiatives Division Director, Fatima Denton, said with time, AFRI-RES will catalyse a paradigm shift towards a climate-resilient green economy approach to planning development investments on the continent.

AFRI-RES will help ensure that climate resilient investment practices are adopted by different financiers active in Africa, thereby boosting the share of overall development financing for Africa with resilience co-benefits.

AFRI-RES will provide project-level technical assistance for climate resilience assessments in pre-feasibility or feasibility studies, climate risk management actions in the structuring of public-private partnership agreements or contracts.

Makhtar Diop, the World Bank's Vice President for Africa praised the NDF for prioritising and supporting investments in climate-resilient infrastructure.

“Climate variability and change are jeopardizing Africa’s hard-won development achievements and its aspirations for further growth and poverty reduction,” he said.

“We thank NDF for their generous support of AFRI-RES, which is a key component of the World Bank’s $19 billion Africa Climate Business Plan to strengthen, power, and enable the continent’s resilience.”

Amadou Hott, Vice-President responsible for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth at the AfDB said; “NDF has explicitly demonstrated by this support that it shares in Africa’s vision to scale up adaptation finance which has significantly lagged mitigation finance particularly in Africa.”

He said climate resilient infrastructure is well aligned with the AfDB’s transformation agenda for Africa; achieving the Hi-5s - Light up and Power Africa, Integrate Africa, Industrialize Africa, Feed Africa and Improve the quality of life for Africans.

The Nordic Development Fund is the joint development finance institution of the five Nordic countries and in this programme it aims to facilitate climate change investments in low-income countries.

Country Program Manager and AFRI-RES Project Manager at NDF, Aage Jørgensen, said the AFRI-RES will adopt results and methods developed in an earlier World Bank-ECA project and move them forward in practical and relevant ways so they can assist African governments, planners and private developers to integrate climate change in project planning and design.

“The facility will complement ClimDev by focusing on a longer time horizon, for example, the life span of long-lived investments such as power stations and reservoirs and develop an integrated approach to decision-making, going from climate projections, to assessment of impacts, to planning and design of options aimed at minimising negative impacts,” said Mr. Jørgensen.

The AFRI-RES facility will also look at taking advantage of potential opportunities for improved investment performance under climate change, he said.

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Economic Commission for Africa
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Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826