Open letter to the African Development Bank:

Help phase-out finance to coal–fired power plants in Africa

25 May 2018

Dear President, Executive Directors, Directors and Shareholders of the African Development Bank,

We are writing to express our deep concern regarding the decision of the African Development Bank to finance coal power projects in Senegal, Nigeria and Kenya and request that you revise this decision before it is too late.

It is true that Africa has unacceptably high levels of energy poverty, which must be urgently addressed. However, it doesn’t have to remain that way since Africa has abundant modern renewable energy resources such as sun and wind.

Since coal and other fossil fuels were the energy sources of yesterday, they won’t help Africa leapfrog into the 21st century, and will cause irreparable harm.

According to your ‘Light Up Africa’ vision, The goal of the Bank’s energy strategy is to help the continent achieve universal access to modern energy by 2025, including through harnessing Africa’s abundant renewable energy resources. This raises the question as to why the African Development Bank is funding outdated energy sources such as coal?

Burning coal significantly raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, along with numerous other toxic pollutants, it contradicts many of the African countries’ nationally determined contributions which pursue low-carbon development pathways, and defeats the uncompromising 1.5ºC temperature goal asked for by African countries under the Paris Climate Agreement. The proposed power plants will affect the quality of both soil and water, consequently diminishing the livelihood of the local people, as well as the area of arable land available. They will also gravely impact people’s health, with the elderly, mothers and children being most vulnerable.

We therefore call on the African Development Bank to increase funding to renewable energy projects at multiple scales to enable Africa to switch to sustainable forms of energy instead of relying on conventional fuels that cause irreversible harm to both people and the planet. African countries across the continent have launched various initiatives for renewable energy and energy efficiency. The financial resources of the AfDB are crucial in helping accelerate these.

Around the world, governments of developing countries are switching from coal to cleaner, more efficient and sustainable energy solutions to control pollution and slow down climate change. It’s time for Africa to push forward and lead the rest of the world in stopping coal mining and power generation making the world a better place to live in for both present and future generations. It’s time for Africa to deCOALonise.

We would appreciate a response to this letter before the end of June 2018.

Yours sincerely,

Representatives of the following organisations.

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