RIYADH: The UAE will give $4.5 billion to Africa’s clean energy initiatives, COP28 President-designate Sultan Al-Jaber said on Tuesday as he urged the continent to set out long-term transition plans.
Speaking at the African Climate Summit in Nairobi, the high-ranking UAE politician revealed the money would come from the country’s public and private sector, with Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Etihad Credit Insurance, Masdar, and AMEA Power notable contributors.
The funds will be distributed in collaboration with Africa50, an investment platform established by African governments and the Africa Development Bank.
In his keynote address announcing the money, Al-Jaber called on the continent’s leaders to set out clear transition and investment plans, along with policy and regulatory frameworks to unlock commercial finance for clean energy projects.
He said: “The initiative will prioritize investments in countries across Africa with clear transition strategies, enhanced regulatory frameworks and a master plan for developing grid infrastructure that integrates supply and demand.
“In short, this initiative is designed to work with Africa, for Africa.
“It aims to clearly demonstrate the commercial case for clean investment across this continent and it will act as a scalable model that can be replicated to help put Africa on a superhighway to low carbon growth.”
He acknowledged that “Africa contributes just 3 percent of global emissions, yet suffers some of the worst consequences. Droughts, floods and failed harvests have exposed one fifth of Africa’s people to hunger, tripled the number of people displaced in the last three years, and is dragging down Africa’s GDP growth by at least 5 percent every year.
The UAE official also recognized the scale of energy poverty within Africa, acknowledging that “almost half of Africa’s population still have no access to electricity, almost 1 billion people lack clean cooking fuels, and this energy gap will only increase as Africa’s population grows.”
Al-Jaber used his speech to flag up areas of governance that need improving in Africa in order for the money to make a real difference to the creation of clean energy sources.
These include restoring the financial sustainability of local utilities, modernizing basic energy infrastructures, and clarifying development processes and eliminating the red-tape delaying market lead-time.
The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development is contributing $1 billion, while Etihad Credit Insurance is providing $500 million of credit insurance to de-risk and unlock private capital.
Energy firm Masdar, which is active in 22 countries in Africa, is committing an additional $2 billion of equity as part of the new initiative. It will also mobilize an additional $8 billion in project finance and through its Infinity Power platform and will target the delivery of 10 gigawatts of clean energy capacity in Africa by 2030.
AMEA Power is targeting 5 GW of renewable energy capacity in the continent by 2030, mobilizing $5 billion, of which $1 billion will come from equity commitment, and $4 billion from project finance.
The initiative will sit under the umbrella of Etihad 7, a development platform championed by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs that aims to provide 100 million people across the African continent with clean electricity by 2035.
Al-Jaber emphasized his plan to fix climate finance. He urged donors to “close out the $100 billion pledge they made over a decade ago and to replenish the green climate fund. In parallel, we need a complete upgrade of the global financial architecture that was built for a different era.”
Addressing the imbalance between financing for mitigation and adaptation, he called on donors to “double adaptation finance by 2025,” and to “transform the Global Goal on Adaptation from theory and text into tangible action and real results.”
COP28 UAE will take place at Expo City Dubai from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12 and is expected to convene over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, and international industry leaders.
The COP28 President-designate stated: “What was promised in Sharm El Sheikh, must be fully operational in Dubai.”
Al-Jaber concluded his remarks at the summit by saying that climate change is a “global fight and demands a global solution.” “If Africa loses, we all lose, If Africa succeeds, we all succeed. Progress for one is progress for all,” he said.