An open letter to the President of the African Development Bank

Dear Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

Request for African Development Bank to align to Paris Agreement goal of 1.5ºC and to increase transparency

We are aware of the work the Bank has been doing over the past years, and we are pleased to know that in 2017 the energy investments portfolio by the African Development Bank (AfDB) consisted of 100% clean renewable energy. This shows that the bank is leading Africa towards the energy of the future. We are delighted that the Bank approved power generation projects with 1,400 megawatts cumulative specifically from renewables in 2017.  This is a great step towards achieving the Paris Agreement’s target of keeping the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.  Furthermore, we have been tracking the Bank’s progress towards transparency and easy access to information, and we have noticed that the AfDB has been ranked 4th in the Aid Transparency Index in 2018. This reflects the Bank’s improvement on its operational capabilities and efficacy of its processes and systems, and its policy on maintaining high standards in the reporting of its projects, programs and financial aid.

However, we call on the bank for increased transparency concerning the disclosure of possible and impending investments. This much-needed improvement in transparency gives public citizens a chance to voice their opinions on investments that threaten their well-being and quality of life, and allows the AfDB to explore alternative win-win options to development.

We also call on the bank to disclose and share the greenhouse gas emissions at the project and portfolio levels. This sends a strong signal to investors and policymakers to act through finance and policy to decouple growth and development from emissions.

All African countries have endorsed the Paris Climate Agreement and the goal to limit global temperature increase to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. In accordance with international reports, especially the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), African countries are among the most vulnerable countries to climate change.  The IPCC report also warns of the devastating impacts of warming beyond 1.5ºC.  As temperatures continue rising, Africans will experience catastrophic impacts related to climate change. The costs of this damage, including increased civil unrest, migration and destruction of infrastructure, will require a significant amount of funding to ensure the wellbeing of African lives – and it becomes the responsibility of the region’s governments and public institutions, like the AfDB, to lead the world by example towards demonstrable and marked reduction in emissions.

We are sure that AfDB can offer more support for this important endeavour leading to a rapid advancement, mirroring the telecom experience in Africa, and leapfrogging towards new and clean energy sources of the 21st century. Supporting energy players on the African continent to shift to renewable energy projects will create new jobs, build sustainable infrastructure, and will prevent pollution and harmful emissions, which cause irreversible damage. The transformation and leapfrogging will inevitably begin by using a robust methodology to comprehensively measure and report emissions from its portfolio, including emissions from non-energy sectors and financial intermediaries.

We therefore strongly urge AfDB to:

  1. Increase transparency efforts to increase access to information available to the general public as well as increased transparency in stakeholder engagement and consultation;
  2. Increase transparency on proposed investments and the portfolio generally, and specifically increase transparency on the greenhouse gas accounting at project and portfolio levels.
  3. Extend your transparency efforts to the Bank’s operational management and carbon pricing;
  4. Extend your transparency to your energy efficiency strategy;
  5. Shift AfDB’s portfolios to 100% renewable projects and sustainable, low-emission agriculture and infrastructure;
  6. Publish a roadmap to reduce portfolio-wide emissions and align with 1.5ºC goal.

We look forward to hearing from you on what steps will be taken towards achieving these changes. Our hope is that we can all work together to create a brighter, sustainable future for the African continent.

Kind regards,

The Zero coalition partners

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