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Sub-Saharan Africa

Could investing millions in hydro-meteorological services save billions in emerging countries?

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Could investing millions in hydro-meteorological services save billions in emerging countries?

According to a recent article published by Reuters, the World Bank is working with other development finance institutions to raise some $500 million to modernise weather and flood forecasting services in Africa. Why is this such a priority? According to World Meteorological Organization figures, 90% of natural disasters in sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade were climate or weather-related. More recently, flooding has devastated some southern African countries such as Malawi and Mozambique, both of which have suffered severe damage to homes, crops, and infrastructure, not to mention the loss of hundreds of lives.

The aftermath of the floods does not look promising either. Fears of cholera outbreaks along with malaria are very real. Without shelter, or clean water, mosquitoes multiply. And as Mandinda Zungu, Programs Coordinator for Catholic Development Commission in Malawi reports to BBC News, cholera can be described as “a ticking time bomb: ‘Because pipes are blocked or destroyed, clean water supplies are cut off," she explains. ‘People are bathing in streams then drinking the same water further down. They are going to the toilet in fields, which, when it rains, spreads into the rivers.”

Thus the need for more investing in advanced weather forecasting services can be rationalized: “Globally, investment in hydro-meteorological services could lead to a realization of up to $30 billion per year in increased economic productivity and cut losses from disasters by up to $2 billion.” - Disaster risk specialist Daniel Kull, World Bank, Reuters

 

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How can private-sector investment increase capital while impacting climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa?

How can private-sector investment increase capital while impacting climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa?

The US-Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) initiative reportedly reached 100% commitment of their initial $20 million project funds in December. The project was designed to support early stage private-sector investment in renewable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa. ACEF was launched at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 under then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At the US-Africa Leaders Summit in August of 2014, current Secretary of State John Kerry announced his support for the project and pledged that the US will invest another $10 million. 

So far the project has seen much success and praise with funds having been invested in nearly 30 different renewable energy projects in 10 African countries. The US Trade and Development Agency reports: “The initial $20 million of funding has the potential to lead to more than 400 megawatts of new renewable power in Africa and could mobilize more than $1.5 billion in project capital, a ratio of $75 for every $1 from the ACEF program.” The initiative has a goal of making energy more reliable in Sub-Saharan Africa in both urban and rural environments while also inviting private investment. Projects include a 150 megawatt wind farm in Senegal and a 12 megawatt “run-of-the-river” hydroelectric power facility in Rwanda. 

Todd Stern, US special envoy for climate change at the US State Department states: “ACEF is an excellent example of how we can use limited public resources to leverage the private financing necessary to fuel low-carbon growth in developing countries – a key step in meeting the challenge to address climate change.

Learn more about this initiative here.