Climate investment conference comes to South Africa

2011-06-22 14:30

African countries, including South Africa, are expected to receive more than R18 billion to assist its economies to go green.

South Africa is one of the 15 African countries that will obtain the funding from the Climate Investment Funds – an international environmental trust fund.

Together with the African Development Bank, the trust fund will hold the 2011 Partnership Forum in Cape Town this weekend, where decisions about climate friendly investments worldwide will be made.

“A key priority for Africa is to learn lessons from how these climate change instruments are implemented,” said Mafalda Duarte, the bank’s Climate Investment Funds coordinator.

Other African priorities include climate modelling, improving climate information systems and the development of local manufacturing industries, according to Duarte.

The funding African countries are expected to receive comprises 38% of the $6.5 billion (about R44 billion) fund and will be put towards projects entailing energy efficiency, clean urban transport, climate-resilient development planning, and sustainable forest management initiatives. The trust’s funds are issued as loan or grants.

The forum will bring together 45 participant countries from around the world to chart the fund’s strategic direction, results and effects.

The participant countries will also have the opportunity to share their experiences in implementing the fund’s investment plans, achievements and challenges, as well as learning from fellow pilot countries and expert panelists.

In May the fund, through the African Development Bank, extended a $365 million financial package to Eskom to aid it in implementing a $1.3 billion renewable energy project to introduce concentrated solar power to sub-Saharan Africa.

Other projects the fund is involved in on the continent include initiatives in the transport and wind energy sector in Egypt, concentrated solar power in Morocco and geothermal energy to generate electricity in Kenya.

The bank’s East African senior power engineer Thielo Bah said, “It’s a fund that helps in unlocking some of the barriers we have in Africa and Kenya in particular, especially as some of the projects are financially risky and thus not appealing to private investors.”

The conference will run on Saturday and Sunday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Speakers will include Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the bank’s vice-president Bobby Pittman, and World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change Andrew Steer.

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