African efforts on climate action received a welcome boost with approval of the 125 megawatt concentrated solar power plant at Ouarzazate in Morocco by CIF’s Strategic Climate Fund.
The 125 megawatt concentrated solar power plant at Ouarzazate is the first project in a regional plan that will eventually triple today’s global investments in concentrated solar power. The regional plan is funded to the tune of $200 million in Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Bank co-financing.
The green light for the Moroccan project came on the eve of the CIF Partnership Forum, which opened today in Cape Town and is hosted this year by the African Development Bank.
New money for the CIF to scale up renewable energy in low income countries was also announced by Norway earlier in the week. The 150 million krones pledge (equal to $US 27 million) builds on recent commitments of new financial support from Australia and Korea.
"We need to accelerate the transition to clean energy while ensuring the supply vital to growth and opportunity and this is a core priority of the Government of South Africa," said Hon. Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance, South Africa, in opening remarks at the Forum.
"Indeed, South Africa became one of the developing countries to lead, making a voluntary pledge to reduce emissions by 34 percent by 2020." He urged the Forum to be robust in its interrogation of ideas and initiatives and develop solutions that engage all stakeholders so that the interests of society as a whole are taken forward.
Delivering a message on behalf of Donald Kaberuka, AfDB President, Vice President Bobby Pittman said "the CIF are a useful transitional instrument to learn from as Heads of States gear up to discuss the future of climate finance in Durban later this year. Africa needs financing that is clearly dedicated to its priorities and challenges in responding to climate change.”
The African continent has entered full-force into climate action, leading with new climate-friendly policies and programs and more than a third of current approved funding. Elsewhere in the world, momentum on climate is also growing, with CIF pilot projects in 45 countries.
Here in South Africa, next week additional CIF committees (including the pilot program for climate resilience) are set to approve a series of projects that should allocate more than $US400 million to new climate adaptation initiatives in some of the poorest countries in the world.
“The CIF’s Strategic Climate Fund gives priority to highly vulnerable least developed countries, including the small island developing states. As momentum grows for climate action on the ground, the CIFs can be a real game-changer," said, Admed Shafeeq Ibrahim Moosa, the Presidential Envoy for Science and Technology from the Maldives, and co-chair of the CIF’s Strategic Climate Fund.
Speaking at the opening ceremony today, Andrew Steer, World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change, said: “The CIFs are the largest and most exciting living laboratory for financing climate action in the world. We’re now starting to fire on all cylinders. Africa receives more funding through the CIFs than any other region, but it’s still not enough.”
The CIF forum here in Cape Town brings together delegates from participant countries, five multilateral development banks, UN agencies, civil society, indigenous peoples, local communities, private sector, and other stakeholders to discuss CIF results and impact and chart strategic directions in climate financing. More than 250 stakeholders from 45 nations, including 15 African countries, are here for the two-day meeting.
This Ouarzazate project in Morocco is the first to be implemented from the MENA Region Clean Technology Fund Investment Plan, which aims to accelerate global deployment of concentrated solar power by investing in expansion programs in five countries of the Middle East and North Africa region: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.
When implemented, this will be one of the largest concentrated solar power developments in the world, adding more than one gigawatt of solar power generation capacity to the Middle East and tripling today’s global capacity of concentrated solar power.