President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina

CAPE TOWN - Under its agenda 'Light up and power Africa', the African Development Bank plans to reach 29.3 million people in Africa with electricity by 2020.

This was recently disclosed by the president of the institution, Akinwumi Adesina at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Adesina pledged support for the 'new way of working' as crucially important and indicated that it requires a new way of tackling development issues.

In a statement issued by the development bank, Adesina said, "The African Development Bank is today at the forefront of investing in renewable energy in Africa. The share of renewable energy in the Bank’s energy portfolio increased from 14% when I became President in 2015 to 100% last year".

The institution's support for 2017 alone provided 3.8 million Africans with access to electricity. "And with adequate financing, we expect to reach 29.3 million people with access to electricity between 2018 and 2020".

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Adesina has called on the UN secretary-general to join him in supporting the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility to also work differently, and step up support to co-pay for climate risk insurance for vulnerable African countries, noting that African countries, hit by climate change, are hard pressed to find funds to pay the insurance premiums.

He added that "An understanding of the link between environmental degradation, extreme poverty and youth unemployment is critical to a New Way of Working. Wherever these three elements are present, there is a ‘Triangle of Disaster’, in which unemployment, poverty and environmental degradation chase each other in a downward spiral to dereliction, terrorism, violence and conflict".

The institution has also committed to triple its climate financing to 40% of new approvals by 2020, and is deploying programs and actions to combat fragility and strengthen resilience.

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The Desert to Power - an initiative spearheaded by the development bank aims to turn Africa’s deserts into new sources of energy, by working with partners to develop 10,000 MW of solar power systems across the Sahel. The initiative is expected to provide electricity to 250 million people, with 90 million of these provided through off-grid systems.

"We have already started with the development of a 50 MW solar power system in Burkina Faso," Adesina said. 

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