Finance corporation

Africa Finance Corporation CEO Samaila Zubairu on critical climate debate

Emerging markets need $1 billion a year in climate finance to meet 2030 climate goals. The reality is that they only receive $150 billion a year. The Africa Finance Corporation recently launched a white paper on climate change. AFC Chairman and CEO Samaila Zubairu speaks out on critical climate.

On whether Africa figures on the world stage at the World Economic Forum in terms of solutions to key issues

Davos is a good engagement platform. I think it’s a good platform for Africa to project itself differently. It is a good platform for Africa to present itself as an investment destination and as a solution provider or as part of the solution for the energy transition. This is mainly because we will need a lot of minerals and metals for the energy transition. Most of them are found in Africa. We must use them sustainably and process them in an energy-efficient way. We need to look at it in the context of our broader aspirations for a continental free trade area. So we need to put all of this together and engage with the world on how to build local circular economies in Africa that will reduce emissions from global shipping as part of our solutions to climate change. We need to look at how we can construct this discourse on goods to be traded within the continental free trade area. We need to think about how we can build the infrastructure to support the continental free trade area and how we can create more jobs for Africans. I believe this is a good forum for us to collaborate with existing partners and new partners for this.

On solutions to fight climate change

We recently launched a white paper on climate, and the idea is to try to build consensus of African leaders around a common African narrative for engagement with the world at COP27. We try to project four key messages. The first is that Africa is in a unique position where the least contributors have the most impact, and because we are already very low on the emissions ladder, nothing will be gained by giving us targets similar to the rest of the world. They are more prosperous nations. And because we already have significant forests that absorb most of the carbon, you know, emissions know no borders. So we already absorb most of the carbon emissions. We need to do things differently and these areas of change fall into three areas. First: how to build local circular economies that will transform the minerals and methods necessary for the energy transition in a sustainable way? Second: how do we build resilient infrastructure that will allow us to withstand the impacts of climate change? Third: How can we innovate financially in a way that gets the flow of pledges and generates internal funding from Africa, because Africa actually has the funds? How to propose part of it for these investments necessary to build resilient economies, support the energy transition, preserve the forests that the world needs, which will make it possible to develop our natural gas. This should be a form of transition on our mat and our share towards nazio, as well as compensation for African communities who already provide carbon sinks for the rest of the world.

On Africans without access to electricity or clean fuel

This number has increased with Covid-19. So what we know now is that 80% of the people without access to electricity in the world live in Africa. The use of charcoal and firewood is something the world should work with Africa to discourage. And we can only discourage this by offering alternatives such as LPG and other modern cooking methods. It’s something we should be doing. We’re at the forefront of that, and we think we need to keep executing those projects and building a partnership that would see us do more projects. Because all of these initiatives can be replicated, at scale, on the continent with additional capital and additional partnerships. This is what we hope to be able to achieve with Davos.

On the medium and long term vision for African Finance Corporation

We want to be the catalyst for industrialization in Africa. We want to provide a structure that will support industrialization in Africa. We believe that Africa needs to move from just exporting raw materials to exporting and supplying finished products for consumption in Africa. Free trade control is going to be a big opportunity for Africa, but we don’t want imported goods to be sold in this free trade area. We want African products. So our goal now is to build platform companies that would focus on one: building the renewable energy needed for the future, building the minerals and metals, processing them for the energy needs and the mobility needs of the future. We are therefore looking for a royalty distribution company for precious metals as well as for transition metals. Precious metals are important because Africans need to build their resilience. We have a lot of gold here and we need more of that gold as a mix of our foreign exchange reserves. I want Africans to use African gold for this. So we invest in gold mines and we believe that African governments should take a stand in these gold mines. We are building our postal and logistics platform. Currently we have five ports. We want to increase these ports as these ports would be a gateway to support both intra-African trade and trade with the rest of the world. We focus on industry platforms where we look at integrated value chains and how we can deliver greater value capture in Africa.

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