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  • How to deal with gridlock in climate finance? Walk

How to deal with gridlock in climate finance? Walk

Funding for Africa’s green economy is stuck much like traffic in New York, where global leaders failed to make much climate progress at the UN General Assembly. Perseverance and innovation are the answer

Hello - are you reading this on a phone stuck among petrol guzzlers heading to a meeting? You might consider the example of President Ruto of Kenya (above), who got out of his limo in gridlocked Manhattan and walked to his.

Today we assess cases of fresh thinking to deal with old problems including mini-grids. We’re big fans of the art of not giving up. Please help us grow and forward this newsletter to someone who should be a reader. Thanks!

Today’s reading time: 7 mins

LOGISTICS UPDATE | Thursday 28 September 

🚎 Countdown: Smarter Mobility Summit starts soon in Joburg (Oct 1-3)

📆 Agenda: Also the ESG Africa Conference in Joburg (Oct 4-5)

More events: Renewable Energy Forum Africa in Nairobi (Oct 4-6)

Plus FYI…

📖 Report: Ideo.org tackles climate in their new gender equality report

📚 Another: Check out the new SADRI report on drought resilience

⏰ Green jobs: M-Kopa is hiring a senior customer care manager in Lagos

1.🚁 Heli view: Africa must stick to its guns on climate funding

African leaders presented their newly-minted green agenda on the global stage in New York in the past week. But the reception was underwhelming. What now?

  • Is the continent on the wrong track… and if so, what’s the alternative?

Presentation: It was a perfect charm offensive. African leaders at the UN General Assembly showed eloquence and resolve to shift global climate action.

  • They plugged the recently agreed Nairobi Declaration – in perfect unison.

  • Past talk of victimhood was replaced with a focus on economic opportunity.

  • African resources shone as key for the planet’s climate (forests, minerals, etc).

Beyond generalities: African leaders also made clear the Global North should invest on the continent for climate action to benefit the whole planet. That includes:

  • New, expanded for-profit funding

  • Changes in global debt structures

  • Taxation of the biggest emitters

The reaction: Nobody thought this would be easy. But the response was more disappointing than expected.

  • Replenishment pledges for the Green Climate Fund fell short of promises (see chart above - note US, France and Japan).

  • Observers see little chance of much movement before COP 28.

The background: Africa’s bumpy week has much to do with politics in far-off places.

  • The US Congress is deadlocked on funding, including for Africa.

  • EU countries are scaling back domestic commitments (UK & Germany).

  • Wary of much-debated debt restructuring, investors fled Kenya's eurobonds.

What matters: Despite setbacks, African leaders are building on strong momentum. That should give them confidence to stick with their course.

  • In New York, they featured prominently and as equal partners.

  • Quietly and otherwise, they are creating all the right alliances.

  • The new World Bank president has been highly supportive.

  • Embracing the popular Bridgetown Initiative will yield benefits.

  • The White House remains engaged, regardless of Congress.

In sum: The foundation for climate-related financial reforms have been laid. This should result in more funding for climate-positive growth in Africa, eventually.

  • US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen embraced the linkages between climate change, investment and food security.

  • President Joe Biden still seeks Congress approval for at least $25 billion in new World Bank financing.

2. Climate ventures raising more than $200m

Major investors have long complained that it's hard to deploy capital in Africa's green economy because the ticket sizes are small. But that may be changing.

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