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Finance in Common summit closes as COP 27 beckons, development bank heads call for action to close development finance gap in Africa

AFRICA – In advance of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) next month, public development banks meeting in Abidjan agreed on action points to tackle Africa’s climate finance gap.

The third Finance in Common(link is external) summit ended on Thursday amid calls on the delegates to turn their commitments to do more in development financing for Africa into actions.

The African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank co-organized the summit under the theme; Green and Just Transition for a Sustainable Recovery. It highlighted the role of public development banks in Africa’s recovery as the continent faces impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

In his closing speech, African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina said as Africa looks towards COP27, development partners should collectively ensure that countries, especially the vulnerable ones in Africa, get the resources to adapt to climate change and support just energy transitions.

“As we leave Abidjan, let us keep our determination strong. The world needs actions, not words. Let us turn our ideas into strong commitments, and let’s turn those strong commitments into actions,” urged Adesina.

He said amid the social and political unrest occasioned by the global crises, public development banks must be bold in pooling together to foster relief for the people. “We must do better in cooperating, pooling resources, and deploying financing at scale,” he added.

The bank chief noted that the role of public development banks and public financial institutions, which collectively deploy $2.3 trillion in annual lending per year, is crucial.

Adesina mentioned plans to launch the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa(link is external), saying it would be a ‘game-changer’ in bridging the investment gap for green infrastructure.

Rémy Rioux, chief executive officer of the French development agency, AFD and chair of the Finance in Common executive board, expressed satisfaction with delegates’ zeal to move forward with climate mitigation and adaptation in Africa for impact.

However, he said, a lot needs to be done. “We demonstrated our collective firepower on climate finance – but my feeling is that we are only scratching on the surface of what we can do, and to do together against environmental disruptions,” Rioux stated.

In a summary of the summit’s outcome, he said it showcased a shared vision among Finance in Common members in favor of a sustainable investment policy for development.

Thomas Östros, vice president of the European Investment Bank, said the three-day summit met its goals. Still, work must continue.

“Thanks to this unique forum and the movement it represents – I feel confident that we, as public development banks, are more united than ever and heading in the same direction. The challenges are big, and so is our determination to work together,” he said.

He said public development banks are in a strong position to deliver a coherent message at the 2022 COP in Egypt. “This allows us to have an even greater impact in efforts to mobilize private sector finance for climate, environmental and social challenges, and for the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Dr Gene Leon, President of the CDB

Dr Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon, president of the Caribbean Development Bank, said, “our greatest need is for a multilateralism that assures the equitable distribution of socio-economic benefits to meet diverse needs and a just transition towards development.”

In a video message, International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva stressed the role of public development banks in accelerating climate adaptation to save millions of lives and reduce the cost of natural disasters.

She said: “Public development banks bring vital resources to build resilience to current and future shocks. They also connect the private sector and governments in leveraging concessional resources for sustainable development.”

There were messages from youth groups calling on delegates to deliver on their climate commitments and the respect for human rights across workplaces. “We would like to see you walk the talk with concrete actions by involving the youth and organizations working on the field,” said youth leader Tatiana Houndjo.

The 2023 summit will take place in Latin America.

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