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

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

20 May 2020
Petition to
African Development Bank Group and 1 other
Signatures: 7,812Next Goal: 10,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by African Climate Reality Project

African countries require a significant stream of financial support to solve numerous development challenges. They often lack tarred roads to connect rural communities with transport infrastructure such as ports, airports, etc. They lack electricity – in fact, energy poverty is one of the biggest challenges on the African continent with more than 40% of the population lacking quality, affordable electricity.

Climate change is already a major threat to the African continent. The hottest years ever measured with instruments have all occurred over the past 20 years. Globally, more than 90% of all the extra heat energy trapped by our atmosphere is going into the oceans, and half of the increase in global ocean heat content has occurred in less than 20 years. This heat makes ocean-based storms like hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones stronger and more destructive - like Cyclone Idai in 2019. Idai was one of the deadliest tropical cyclones recorded in the South-West Indian Ocean basin, and affected over 3 million people. In order to align to the world ambition of limiting global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial times, African countries, with the support of African DFIs, need to channel key investments into climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation.

The AfDB also needs to include human rights principles; the Bank has done well to incorporate gender, youth, and other social inclusion principles and discourse into various policies and strategies. However, there is a need for policies and strategies across the Bank to include explicit recognition of the interconnection between climate justice and human rights in the just transition to a low-carbon, resilient, and sustainable pathway for Africa.

We are demanding the AfDB address or adopt the following key points in relation to Energy; Agriculture, Forestry, Land and Ecosystems; and Climate Finance:


We call on the leadership of the AfDB to:

  1. Commit to 2022 as a target date for publishing a roadmap for the 1.5ºC Paris alignment goal for reducing emissions, to be implemented by 2023-2025. This target will establish AfDB as a leader and go a long way in influencing other African development finance institutions to raise their ambition.
  2. Prioritize the development and implementation 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, or oil project or related infrastructure project that is carbon intensive on the African continent after 2022. At the least, establish an immediate ban on any new fossil fuel projects and publish a roadmap for phasing out all fossil fuel development financing to advance the just transition in line with the Paris Agreement. The policy should guide a managed and equitable phase-out, taking into account principles of equality and justice for those primarily affected within the timeliness needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  3. 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 90 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 and committee to ensure widespread civil society and public engagement.
  4. We insist that next-generation solar, wind, pumped-storage, and tidal power be based upon democratically-run and socially-owned energy, rather than the extractive, privatised character of the fossil fuel industry that has caused ecosystem destruction, contributed to climate change, and has negatively affected the social fabric of African communities with limited return of benefit to African people. We call on the AfDB to disregard any technical and financial support that enables fossil fuel energy to thrive over renewable energy.

Agriculture, Forestry, Land and Ecosystems

  1. Establish a green framework that recognises the drivers contributing to biodiversity loss as well as destruction of ecosystems and vital carbon sinks (e.g degradative or high-tillage agriculture, logging, fuelwood, land use change for energy or other purposes) before identifying the solutions it intends to invest in.
  2. Work with and involve the private sector to develop and commit to zero deforestation supply chains and policies that are beneficial and of mutual benefit to all stakeholders.
  3. Embed nature-based solutions into the AfDB agenda and Regional Member Countries’ Country Strategy Papers, and their national development plans. Sustainable farming (agroecology, organic farming, etc.) and forestry practices must be implemented at the local and national levels by aligning national development plans, forestry, and agricultural policies with the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. To contribute to a just, green recovery, Africa's carbon sinks must be protected and managed in a sustainable and people-centred way. In light of this, we call on the AfDB to increase their financing of nature and nature-based solutions, for protecting and restoring nature in its country strategies and action plans.
  4. Enhance public and civil society participation while working with Regional Member Countries to improve and secure land tenure rights of indigenous and forest dependent communities and farmers. This includes adopting or strengthening existing funding policies on land and forest tenure rights as a prerequisite for community-based and female-led sustainable forest management.
  5. Strengthen partnerships with CSOs to monitor, research, and implement projects that support nature-based solutions and also offer an independent review of progress on targets set at country levels on agriculture, forestry, land-use management, and ecosystems.
  6. The AfDB should increase investments in humane and sustainable proteins and divest from funding large-scale livestock industrial/ factory farming which has been shown by a recent UN report to have negative impacts on animals, people, and the environment. The Bank can achieve this by: strengthening their policies and performance standards on animal welfare, climate and biodiversity, classifying industrial livestock projects as high risk, voting against their approval, and only investing in projects with high animal welfare.

Climate Finance:

  1. Shift investment portfolios already connected to agriculture related investments to support 100% sustainable agricultural approaches like agroecology and other regenerative processes, which are to be included in the eligibility criteria for biodiversity and land degradation neutrality projects. AfDB climate finance portfolios must also support investments in nature-based solutions more suited to the geopolitical architecture of Africa.
  2. The AfDB must prohibit harmful financing to the 8 key critical ecosystems and areas, including those which are most at threat from harmful development projects, such as intact primary forests, free-flowing rivers, habitats with endangered species, and areas that have not received the free, prior, informed consent of local and indigenous communities.
  3. Increase transparency about how funds and financing flow in and out of the AfDB, develop accountability mechanisms that show how those funds reach communities, and provide timelines for when funding starts and ends. This further indicates the need for a set criteria or factors which are considered by the AfDB and its Board in
    making decisions on the distribution of climate finance through a participatory mechanism and how those funds reach affected communities.
  4. The AfDB must ensure that its methodology for adaptation and mitigation finance includes gender indicators and targets that ensure that women have equitable access to funds for climate-related projects. Developing a gender-responsive and inclusive approach to climate finance is vital to achieving long term climate goals.
  5. The AfDB should assess its existing and prior loan and investment portfolio in terms of greenhouse gases produced. Consistent with the Polluter Pays principle of environmental economics - so as to internalise externalities like pollution not incorporated in market transactions - calculate loss and damage done now and in future as a result of this portfolio (the Social Cost of Carbon has most recently been estimated at $51/ton).
  6. The AfDB should support regional member countries in developing their development plans centred on sustainable / renewable energy in an effort to leapfrog the industrialisation pathway of developed nations as a means to manage GHG emission constraints. The AfDB must prioritise the need to make ecosystem services payments and restore environmental wealth through the Natural Capital for African Development Finance Programme. In applying these techniques, it is possible to estimate the institution’s climate debt, a methodology that should be encouraged throughout the multilateral financing system with the AfDB’s leadership. Identifying reparations-payment systems that are appropriate for victims of climate catastrophes should be done in conjunction with local civil society, especially in cases where emergency relief is needed during and after a localised, climate-related extreme weather event.
  7. Establish a free, prior, and informed consent process for communities as an integral element in the development and implementation of projects affecting them or the resources they depend on.

Our hope is that we can all work together to create an equitable and sustainable future for the African continent - one that leaves no one behind. 


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!


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Signatures: 7,812Next Goal: 10,000
Support now


  • African Development Bank Group
  • Dr. Akinwumi Adesina