(Ecofin Agency) - On May 16, 2023, the West African Development Bank (WADB)’s Press Club exchanged with journalists from WAEMU countries on climate finance in West Africa. UNECA’s Nassim Oulmane, the African Climate Foundation’s Faten Aggad, and Ibrahim Traore, a WADB climate finance expert addressed journalists during the press conference.
According to Nassim Oulmane, the current challenge for Africa is its level of indebtedness, which prevents countries from generating sufficient resources to support their long-term development ambitions, including investments in climate adaptation and resilience. "57% of African countries now spend more on debt repayment than on infrastructure that can improve human capital," he said.
For her part, Faten Aggad explained that two factors affect climate financing in Africa. First is international investors’ negative perception of the continent’s debt. Then, there is also the geopolitical struggle between superpowers (the USA and China) on the issue of development finance. Ms. Aggad also stressed the need to mobilize the African private sector, which is still not very active on the subject. She said that globally, on average, 50% of companies are involved in the issue of energy transition but, Africa’s average is only 14%.
Taking the floor, Ibrahim Traore first addressed conceptual issues on the notion of climate finance before announcing the WADB’s commitments to addressing climate change. He then indicated that the WADB is accredited to several climate finance funds, which allows it to mobilize funds and support climate actions.
"Over the past five years, we have mobilized CFAF 160 billion to finance actions for adaptation and mitigation... Financial resources are available but the problem is how to access them,” he said.
The press conference continued with the journalists present at the event asking questions about the views of the speakers' institutions on climate change in Africa and on specific projects such as the creation of a green mining value chain in DRC and Zambia.
This conference positions the WADB as the pioneer of an exchange framework to share information and train the press on such issues. The May 16 event, hosted by Ecofin Agency, is the first of a series of conferences that will inform journalists on major economic issues in West Africa, and Africa as a whole.