Powering Africa’s Green Growth Offers Major Investment Opportunities, Ivorian Environment Minister Tells Ustda-AfDB Workshop

Powering Africa’s green growth with new sustainable investment models offers huge opportunities for the continent, a workshop organised jointly by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the African Development Bank heard.

At the opening session held on Tuesday 19 March, Côte d’Ivoire’s Environment, Sustainable Development and Ecological Transition Minister Jacques Assahore Konan hailed the two-day session dedicated to exploring innovative financial investment opportunities.

“This workshop offers huge opportunity to explore investment models … and important collaboration between the public and private stakeholders. By investing in clean technologies, companies can reduce their ecological footprints. In view of the stakes involved, Côte d’Ivoire intends to play its part and is committed to implementing the recommendations of this workshop,” Konan declared.

He added that Côte d’Ivoire is carefully pursuing a low carbon economy strategy and has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30.41% by 2030.

“Green finance has become a key element in economic recovery. Côte d’Ivoire has decided to raise its climate ambitions and the implementation of our NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) implies massive investments to stimulate growth,” the minister said.

The two-day workshop in the Ivorian commercial capital Abidjan was attended by U.S. government agencies, regional development finance institutions, stock exchanges, technical experts and key regional financiers.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) Director Enoh T. Ebong spoke about the need for creative financing solutions to address the huge financing gap for green financing. She underlined the significance of project preparation and partnerships.

Ebong said USTDA offers several tools to assist governments and industry partners to prepare bankable projects to attract investors and cited how the agency’s assistance to a Nigerian infrastructure credit fund, InfraCredit, had resulted in the successful debt financing project in off-grid energy in the West African nation.

She commended the “clarity of vision” that created the Alliance for Green Infrastructure (AGIA), set up by the African Development Bank, African Union Commission and Africa50 to generate, finance, and execute projects with the private sector, to accelerate the continent’s transition to Net-Zero. AGIA’s goal is to raise $500 million of early-stage project preparation and development blended capital and to catalyse up to $10 billion green infrastructure opportunities for private sector investment.

USTDA is currently funding a consultancy that will work with AGIA to define green projects, Ebong said.

“Our goal is to fund feasibility and pilot studies…We want to make the nexus as tight as possible between project preparation and implementation.”

Addressing the opening session, African Development Bank Senior Vice President Swazi Tshabalala described the workshop as timely and “a concrete manifestation of the Bank’s commitment to contributing to the development of innovative solutions to promote green growth and to diversify funding sources from government resources and to tap into other sources, including domestic and international institutional savings.”

Tshabalala said the African Development Fund’s Climate Action Window offers vast opportunities for sustainable investment in Africa, only possible through collaboration she emphasised.

The day’s sessions discussed important themes such as building partnerships, mobilising financing for climate and green growth, green bonds and sustainable debt issues and creating enabling environments for green and sustainable project financing. Participants from the African Development Bank Group also included Solomon Quaynor, Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, Vice President and Chief Economist Kevin Urama Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth, and Ahmed Attout, Acting Director for the Financial Sector Development Department.

USTDA has a strong interest in Africa’s infrastructure development. In November 2021, USTDA and the Africa Investment Forum–a pivotal deal-making platform designed to enhance private sector investment across the continent–signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support high-quality infrastructure solutions for sub-Saharan Africa. The MoU has already led to a mutually beneficial collaboration to advance sustainable infrastructure projects that support Africa’s long-term growth.

The U.S.-Africa Green and Sustainable Financing Workshop will run until March 20.

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