African Development Bank mobilises funding for Sahel
CAPE TOWN - The Sahel region's Great Green Wall Initiative received a major boost from the African Development Bank (ADB) yesterday.
ADB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina said the bank had launched a $20 billion (abot R306bn) Desert-toPower programme to build the largest solar zone in the world, in the Sahel.
He spoke in a virtual forum for the One Planet Summit's Great Green Wall Investment Summit. The Sahel is the region between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south.
“This will provide electricity for 250 million people and help to protect the Great Green Wall. If there is no access to energy, the Great Green Wall will be no more than trees waiting to be turned into charcoal,” he said.
The ADB also pledged to help mobilise up to $6.5bn over five years for the Great Green Wall initiative by drawing on internal as well as external sources of funding, such as Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and Green Climate Fund.
The African-led Great Green Wall initiative aims to rejuvenate life in Africa's desert landscapes, providing food security, jobs and a reason for millions of Africans from Senegal to Djibouti to stay in the Sahel region.
The forum took place in the margins of the One Planet Summit. Adesina said the Great Green Wall was part of Africa's environmental defence system – a shield against the onslaughts of desertification and degradation.
The ADB had made the Sahel region a top priority for investment and mobilising new sources of finance to advance Africa's climate opportunities. The Desert-to-Power programme aimed to provide electricity to 250 million people in 11 Sahel countries and help protect the Great Green Wall.