United States Engagement With African Partners on Climate Change
Office of the Spokesperson
November 16, 2016
The United States has worked closely with African partners to develop and implement a comprehensive set of climate assistance programs supporting African efforts to combat and respond to the threat of climate change. Even though African countries are currently responsible for only a small percentage of global emissions, the continent is home to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations to climate change. Moreover, African countries have shown considerable leadership on addressing climate change, as virtually every country in Africa has submitted a nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement. In partnership with African countries, the United States has:Between 2010 and 2015, committed $3.3 billion in Africa to help facilitate climate resilient, low emissions economic growth. Improved climate resilience of over two million farmers in Africa. Launched the Power Africa initiative with the ambitious goal of doubling access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. Government’s initial pledge to commit more than $7 billion in financial support for Power Africa has leveraged more than $52 billion in additional commitments from public and private sector partners. Power Africa has already helped bring renewable energy projects to financial close that are expected to generate 2,000 megawatts (MW) from biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower. Developed multilateral solutions to climate and clean energy issues, such as partnering with Ghana to co-launch the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and working with many partners to launch the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA) and the National Adaptation Plans (NAP) Global Network. Supported African climate change planning through the Enhancing Capacity for Low Emissions Development Strategies (EC-LEDS) program, by partnering with Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, and Zambia to develop and implement Intended Nationally Developed Contributions (INDCs), create finance tools for renewable energy, reduce emissions due to deforestation and forest degradation, and collect and disseminate critical renewable energy resource data.
Promoting Resilience in Africa
Devastating climate-related humanitarian emergencies in the Horn of Africa in 2011, the Sahel in 2012, and the Horn and Southern Africa in 2016 demonstrated the continued need to reduce disaster risk, strengthen natural resource management, mitigate conflict, improve health outcomes, and expand economic opportunities for vulnerable populations. The United States partners with 40 countries across the continent to protect livelihoods and ecosystems through a range of resilience projects. U.S. programs provide the science, data, and tools that African policymakers need for effective medium- to long-range planning. Together, the United States and African countries are improving food security for vulnerable rural households across the continent. The United States, humanitarian and development partners, and African countries are also partnering to help communities adapt to climate change impacts. Significant accomplishments include:Helped 62 communities develop Community Development Action plans, and reached over 75,000 households with participatory learning, livelihood interventions, or improved natural resource management. Helped increase incomes for small-scale agriculture-dependent and livestock-dependent families in municipalities in rural Niger through a $65.4 million program to improve crop and livestock productivity, sustain natural resources critical to long-term productivity, and increase market sales of targeted commodities. Supported national meteorological authorities in Uganda and Mali to generate reliable weather and climate information to guide key development sectors and improve communication with affected populations to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change. In Uganda, the U.S. is training 19 District Local Governments to integrate climate change into development planning processes. In Mali, the United States is helping the government enhance weather-related communications to 561,000 people. Helped build the capacity of West African countries to use publically available satellite information and geospatial technologies to manage climate risk and land.
Expanding Clean Energy Access in Africa
The United States invests in clean energy both on and off-grid to help a wide range of African countries meet their growing energy needs, improving development outcomes while keeping greenhouse emissions low. For example, the United States has provided a grant to support the development of an estimated 125-150 megawatt concentrated solar power plant in southern Morocco that is now under construction.
In 2013, President Obama launched the Power Africa initiative with the ambitious goal of doubling access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. Power Africa brings together the combined tools, expertise and resources of 12 U.S. Government agencies and a diverse coalition of more than 130 public and private sector partners, including bilateral, multilateral and private sector partners, as well as civil society organizations, who are working together toward the goal of adding more than 30,000 MW of cleaner electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections across Africa. To date, the U.S. Government’s pledge to commit more than $7 billion in financial support for Power Africa has leveraged more than $52 billion in additional commitments from public and private sector partners, including more than $40 billion in commitments from private sector partners alone.
Since its launch, Power Africa has helped bring projects to financial close that are expected to generate over 5,200 MW of new, cleaner electricity – three-quarters of which utilize renewable energy that will generate 2,000 MW from biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower. In 2016 alone, Power Africa has mobilized more than $679 million in support of renewable energy projects. In addition, Power Africa is tracking and supporting the development of more than 200 additional renewable energy projects, which could contribute an additional 13,000 MW of renewable energy when completed. By helping these projects reach completion, Power Africa is advancing the goal of ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, and cleaner energy services and substantially increasing the share of renewable energy by 2030 as articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals
The United States-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative (US-ACEF) catalyzes private sector investment in African clean energy infrastructure, including through the U.S. Government’s financing and project preparation tools to mitigate investment risks and mobilize public and private capital for promising renewable projects. Through US-ACEF, the United States has approved funding for 34 clean energy projects in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Already, 15 ACEF projects have secured project funding, which is leading to increased power generation capacity and expanded access to electricity. Project examples include:In October 2016, US-ACEF award recipient grantee NextGen Solawazi began construction on a 5 MW solar facility in Kigoma, Tanzania that will provide reliable, low-cost electricity to 16,500 households. This project – the first utility-scale solar facility in Tanzania – will also electrify a refugee camp on the Burundi border and facilitate economic growth throughout the region. Since receiving $50 million in US-ACEF support through OPIC, Nova Lumos, a home solar system provider, has rapidly expanded its business in Nigeria. Lumos aims to reach more than 200,000 homes currently without electricity with its portable, affordable, easy to install systems that allow customers to pay for electricity using their mobile phones. US-ACEF grantee Amahoro Energy secured $9.36 million in financing for a small hydroelectric project in Rwanda to electrify the Shyira Hospital, and provide electricity to 22,500 households. USTDA’s feasibility study helped the Rwandan company Amahoro Energy refine plans to develop the project, and, as a result of the study, Amahoro Energy will use equipment imported from Washington State to manufacture high-quality fiberglass pipes, drastically reducing the cost of this project and future projects like it across the region.
Agriculture and Land Use
Agriculture and land use changes, such as the conversion of forests to other uses, cause up to 25 percent of global GHG emissions.
Through the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA), Feed the Future (FtF), Food for Peace, and other global and U.S. initiatives, the United States is supporting resilience to climate impacts in the agriculture sector. Since 2010, FtF has mobilized more than $500 million in private sector investment in Africa to help businesses and smallholder farmers gain access to the inputs and technology needed to improve the productivity and sustainability of agricultural production. Over the last year, food security investments helped more than 3.4 million African farmers apply improved technologies and management practices to respond to increased climate variability on over 2 million hectares of land.
The United States also helps reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (“REDD+”) while strengthening conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in Africa through a combination of bilateral, regional, and global programs. Results achieved include, for example, more than 16 million hectares of land and forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo that are better managed as a result of local interventions that helped reduce or entirely avoid nearly 14 million tons of GHG emissions.
In addition, the Powering Agriculture program, launched in 2012, is investing over $50 million to support the development and deployment of clean energy innovations that stimulate low carbon economic growth in developing countries’ agriculture sector. To date, Powering Agriculture has invested in 24 clean energy innovators that are implementing solar irrigation, cooling and cold storage refrigeration, decentralized power or minigrids, energy efficient value added processing or mechanization, and solar thermal aeration technologies in 23 countries.
Water and Sanitation
U.S. investments in the water sector help address the needs of those who lack access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), who comprise over one third of the world’s total population, in particular in Africa. Water supply issues are compounded by climate variability, growing urbanization and water scarcity. Over the last six years, the United States provided more than $860 million to improve water access for 7.8 million people, and improve sanitation for 5.8 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, while committing $286 million for the rehabilitation of 38 municipal water purification systems across the continent.
In addition, the United States also supports programs that address water insecurity. Through Securing Water for Food (SWFF), the United States, in partnership with the Governments of South Africa, Sweden, and the Netherlands, has invested $34 million to promote science and technology solutions that enable less water-intensive food production and increase water availability for food production, processing, and distribution. Thus far, more than 200,000 farmers have used SWFF innovations to save over 700 million liters of water, produce more than 4,000 tons of food on over 124,000 hectares of land under improved practices, and leverage more than $7 million in 60+ additional partnerships.
Eleven years ago the United States joined forces with the Coca-Cola Company to tackle water resource challenges in more than 30 countries, mostly in North and sub-Saharan Africa. To date, that partnership has helped improve access to safe drinking water for more than 600,000 people and to sanitation facilities serving more than 250,000 people, while improving the management of over 440,000 hectares of land. For example, one project planted 13,600 trees to restore the Tano River Basin’s riparian zone in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire while another’s tree-planting activities and Environmental Flows Assessment of the Wami River basin in Tanzania improved the management of 430,000 hectares of watershed land. Looking ahead, another project with the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation will aim to bring efficient irrigation to Morocco’s High Atlas region and enhance livelihoods, economic opportunities, and ecosystem functions there.
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