Climate change is a major challenge for Africa, as underlined by the French President in his speech at Ouagadougou on 29 November 2017:
Africa, from the shores of Lake Chad to the Congo Basin, is being hardest hit by the effects of climate change, but, my friends, it can also be at the forefront of solutions, it can succeed where Europe has not always been able to.
This is one of the reasons why France wishes to be a strategic partner to Africa in the field of climate change adaptation, supporting innovation through its companies and operators.
Africa also faces the challenges of tomorrow’s cities: in 2025, 500 million more Africans will live in urban areas. This issue will be central to the 2020 Africa-France Summit, which will bring together Heads of State and Government, mayors of major cities in France and Africa, businesses, and civil society representatives. The following are some of the initiatives supported or led by France.
The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) was launched by the African Union, particularly the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC). It gained momentum under the Egyptian Presidency of the Committee before being launched at the COP21 conference. The goal of this ambitious initiative is to boost Africa’s renewable energy capacity by 10 GW by 2020 and by 300 GW by 2030, while ensuring universal access to sustainable energy. This means doubling the continent’s current energy capacity, overhauling regulatory frameworks to mobilize investment, and engaging major capacity-building efforts by 2030.
At the COP21 conference, the G7 (including the EU), Sweden and the Netherlands jointly committed to mobilizing $10 billion as part of efforts to finance the 2020 goal.
France is the largest financial contributor to the AREI (alongside Germany, followed by the Council of the European Union). At the Africa-France Summit in January 2017, the French President announced that financing for renewable energy in Africa would be increased from €2 billion to €3 billion (implemented by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) over the 2016-2020 period).
The International Solar Alliance is a joint initiative by France and India. When it was launched at the COP21 conference on 30 November 2015, it was supported by more than 30 States. The Alliance seeks to bring about a major decrease in the cost of solar energy so its deployment can be scaled up in the 121 solar-rich countries lying between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
The Alliance is an international organization with 65 Member Countries. As of August 2018, 35 of these countries were in Africa . Several African States were among the 15 signatories who supported the launch of the initiative in 2015.
France Diplomatie page on the Solar Alliance
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has established a new financing mechanism, the Adapt’Action Programme, to provide technical assistance to the most vulnerable countries looking to implement their commitments to climate change. With funding of €30 million for the 2016-2020 period, Adapt’Action will support 15 countries, focusing primarily on Africa, least developed countries and small island developing States. The first six beneficiary countries have already been identified: Comoros, Mauritius, Madagascar, Niger, Tunisia and the Dominican Republic (a partnership agreement has been signed with the Dominican Republic).
The AFD has also set up a second initiative, called the 2050 Facility. This Facility, which was launched at the One Planet Summit in December 2017, has been endowed with €30 million. It seeks to finance long-term, low-carbon, resilient development strategies, which countries must produce by 2020 under the terms of the Paris Agreement.
As the only European country with tropical forests within its territory, France has developed partnerships with a number of countries in the Congo Basin. In particular, it supports the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), which it is leading for two years from November 2017. The Initiative aims to support the development and implementation of national investment plans covering all sectors linked with deforestation. It targets six countries: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
For more information on CAFI, please visit the CAFI website
At COP22 held in Marrakesh in 2016, three climate commissions were created to facilitate implementation of the Paris Agreement throughout Africa, focusing on the Sahel Region, the Congo Basin and African Island States.
In the African Union, the Climate Commission for the Sahel Region, made up of 17 countries from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, is chaired by Niger. The first Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Climate Commission for the Sahel Region was held on 25 February 2019.
Its partners and international organizations also attended with the aim of defining projects to reduce the impact of climate change mainly in the agricultural and rural sector. Funding for these initiatives is set out in the Climate Investment Plan for the Sahel Region. The first stage is to mobilize $1.2 billion in 2019.
France fully supports this initiative. Rural development is a key part of our commitment to Sahel countries and makes the swift scale-up of agroecology an important priority. Sustainable farming practices help reach climate change adaptation goals and improve people’s living situation. Agroecology helps generate sustainable jobs and incomes, improve food security and ease tensions between crop and livestock farmers. France disbursed €205 million from 2014-2018 on agroecology via the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and supports African research on these subjects through partnerships and programmes of the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and Research Institute for Development (IRD). These research institutions share their contributions with the expert committees at the Niamey Summit.
More information on the Sahel green initiative (in French)
France plays an important role in other important meetings which strengthens its commitment. They include the One Planet Summit in Nairobi (March 2019), focused on Africa and accessing renewable energies, the UNGA Climate Summit in September and the G7 Sahel Initiative, presided by France in 2019.
Updated: February 2019