I sincerely thank the organisers for this invitation to contribute to this roundtable session.
Africa contributes to the lowest greenhouse gas emissions globally yet remains the most vulnerable and disproportionately affected by climate change.
As the largest multilateral climate fund, GCF is supporting African countries to realise their climate ambitions by investing in low-emission and climate-resilient development projects. To date, GCF has 78 projects totalling USD 3.7 billion in GCF finance, and USD 9 billion in co-finance. With diverse public and private partners, GCF helps respond to climate change through four pathways:
First, we create an enabling environment for climate action by promoting integrated strategies, planning and policymaking. GCF is supporting developing countries in crafting green economic stimulus measures to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and in accessing long-term affordable finance to implement them without increasing their debt burden. This is a real challenge in sub-Saharan Africa, where the Brookings Institute has found that debt levels have risen substantially since the start of the pandemic. In Botswana, GCF in partnership with FAO is supporting the development of a National Strategy for Green Resilient Recovery focusing upon agriculture and tourism.
Second, we are accelerating climate innovation. For example, with our partner Acumen, GCF is investing equity into the KawiSafi Fund, providing risk capital to SMEs that are developing new off-grid solar and climate-resilient agriculture solutions for vulnerable communities in East Africa. Risk capital is extremely scarce in developing countries, yet it is a pre-condition for innovation.
Third, we de-risk projects that otherwise would not be seen as bankable investments in order to establish a commercial track record for new climate solutions. One example is our support for the Great Green Wall initiative: to date GCF has approved 29 public and private sector projects in Sahelian countries, totaling over USD 1 billion of GCF financing. These investments will initially deliver almost $ 2.5 billion in co-financing, and help unlock further private sector investment as we the commercial case for investing in the region becomes more established.
Finally, we help align finance with sustainable development by strengthening domestic financial institutions to integrate climate risks into all financial decisions. For example, the fund has supported the Development Bank of Southern Africa to establish a dedicated climate investment facility and will help it issue the first municipal bonds for wastewater recycling in South Africa.
GCF is committed to closing the financing gap in Africa by supporting low-emission and climate-resilient investment. Together, we can accelerate progress and foster inclusive and sustainable development pathways for all.