The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced plans to spend over $1.5 billion to avert the food crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine.
The Acting Chief Economist and Vice President Professor Kevin Urama said the $1.5 billion food plan would address immediate needs triggered by the ongoing conflict in Europe, noting that the plan will support farmers with seeds and fertilizers in the next wet season, which starts around October in the southern hemisphere.
He added that the Bank also has a medium- to longer-term plan to help countries build resilience, known as Mission 1 for 200, which will help farmers boost production to 100 million tonnes of food to reach 200 million people.
According to Urama, resilience was all-encompassing, maintaining that the Bank will focus a lot more on infrastructure investments to build the strength of countries, social resilience, economic resilience, and environmental resilience in general, including climate resilience.
He, however, emphasized the Bank’s role as a thought leader in Africa, saying the meetings would include three main knowledge events that would touch on topics such as building a digital economy, green jobs for youth, and a special session on climate change that would include the launch of the African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook for 2022 report.
The vice-president for Power, Energy, Climate, and Green Growth, AfDB, Dr Kevin Kariuki, noted that the multilateral was no longer investing in new coal projects.
“However, when it comes to gas, we do understand that Africa needs to address its energy poverty and in order to look at energy poverty, we need to look at all non-coal sources of energy. Therefore, from where we stand, as long as a gas project has been included in a country as part of Nationally Determined Contributions…then the Bank will invest in those gas power plants,” he said
For the first time since 2019, many delegates at this year’s meetings: the 57th Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank and the 48th Annual Meeting of the African Development Fund, will meet in person.
The Secretary-General, AfDB, Vincent Nmehielle, said the theme of the five-day meeting, “Achieving climate resilience and a just energy transition for Africa,” was chosen to provide a framework for the governors of the Banks to share their experiences and engage in addressing climate change and energy transition challenges, as well as their policies and measures to deal with them.
“Governments will be able to show what their countries have done in this regard. A key highlight during the Bank Group’s Annual Meetings will be a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the African Development Fund, the Bank Group’s concessional lending arm,” he said.
The Annual Meetings will also serve as a precursor to the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP 27, called the “African COP,” to be held in November in Egypt. Governments will once again lobby for the continent’s positions on climate change.