Call on the African Development Bank to light up Africa with 100% renewable energy

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We call on the leadership of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to immediately put in place and publish on the AfDB website a fossil fuel finance exclusion policy that the bank will not fund, provide financial services or capacity support to any coal, gas, and oil project on the African continent; and to reflect this policy through a revision of the Bank’s High 5’s.  

We commend your efforts to remove coal from the Bank’s energy investments and accelerate the use of renewable energy for widespread energy access.  We also recognise your COVID-19 response plan to build resilience for a Post-COVID-19 Africa by providing financial grants to several African countries. However, given the climate emergency and the short timeline to achieve net-zero emissions, the AfDB can and should do more by officially and definitively disengaging itself from any current or future fossil fuel projects.

Burning fossil fuels is the primary cause of the climate crisis we are in since it is the largest contributor to Greenhouse Gas emissions. A rapid and just energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, is urgently needed  not only to combat climate change, but also to solve energy poverty by providing access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for the 580 million Africans who still don’t have access to electricity. This number is set to increase in 2020 for the first time since 2013 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting government priorities, supply-chain disruptions and social distancing measures, which have slowed down access programmes - and mobilising development finance institutions is critical to ensuring that progress towards universal energy access continues.  This energy poverty would be filled if governments and financial institutions were to prioritise investments in renewable energy,  and putting strict measures in place to ensure that no fossil fuels projects are funded. 

Africa, more than any other continent, is faced with an accelerating climate crisis. Poverty reduction, energy access goals, and climate goals are inextricably linked; they require urgent and bold action. The majority of Africans depend on natural resources to sustain their livelihoods, and live in low and middle-income countries that have contributed the least to climate change, yet they are the most vulnerable to its impacts. Their lives and livelihoods are directly threatened by the global climate crisis and related impacts such as extreme weather events, food shortages, water scarcity, and the spread of diseases. These effects are already hampering economic development, sometimes eroding years of economic progress, exacerbating conflict and pushing hundreds of thousands of people every year into exile, especially those living in arid zones and areas affected by desertification. 

As the leading financial institution on the continent, we believe that the Bank can and should do more to substantially expand their level of support by increasing Africa's resilience and ambition to leave fossil fuels in the past, and leapfrog to the age of 100% renewable energy and sustainable development.

With the Finance In Common Summit’s aim “to address the common need to build new forms of prosperity that take care of the living (people and planet) in a resilient manner”, we call on the leadership of the AfDB to:

  • Prioritise the development of a fossil fuel finance exclusion policy that states that the bank will not fund, provide financial services, or capacity support to any coal, gas, and oil project on the African continent;
  • Following the development of a draft policy, immediately publish the draft on the AfDB website and allow a public comment period of a minimum of 30 days, and promote this process of public participation on the Bank’s social media channels and through media interventions in addition to the Bank’s civil society database to ensure widespread civil society and public engagement;
  • Provide more participatory approaches to engage with civil society groups on an ongoing basis with your regional and country offices;
    Continue to support recovery and response plans for more vulnerable countries through grants, rather than loans, to avoid worsening the debt crisis;
  • Actively involve civil society in the development of just green recovery and response plans to COVID-19;
    Increase and support Africa’s climate and sustainable development ambitions by investing in opportunities that enable youth to access skills development and green jobs in the renewable energy and sustainability sectors, and in programmes that protect and restore ecosystems affected by unsustainable practices such as mining and logging;
  • Shift the AfDB’s investment portfolios to 100% renewable energy projects and sustainable, low-emission agriculture and climate resilient infrastructure;
  • Publish a roadmap to reduce portfolio-wide emissions and align with the 1.5ºC Paris Agreement goal. The roadmap must also be allowed a public comment period of a minimum 30 days with public participation promoted through the Bank’s social media channels, media interventions, and the Bank’s civil society database;

Our hope is that we can all work together to create a brighter, sustainable future for the African continent.


This petition is being led through Zero Emissions|Omissions, a campaign of the African Climate Reality Project. Please add your voice to this call for a just, sustainable, and climate resilient future for Africa!