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  • Wednesday, 07 September 2022

More Than USD 500B Is Needed for Africa to Achieve Universal Energy Access By 2030: Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, at Egypt-ICF

15 African countries are at risk of external and public debt distress, and six are already facing debt distress: Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, extended her appreciation to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the Government of Egypt for convening the international community ahead of COP27 to deliver the message of moving from pledges to implementation. 

Mohammed made her comments during her speech at the second edition of the Egypt- International Cooperation Forum (Egypt-ICF) and the Meeting of African Ministers of Finance, Economy, and Environment for COP27.

"ClimateAction is stalling. The SDGs are on life support. International solidarity is on vacation, and we need to change the way we operate,” Mohammed said. “We are meeting as many parts of the world are simultaneously facing the fury of climate change and a cost-of-living crisis. Lives and livelihoods are being destroyed. Climate action is stalling. The Sustainable Development Goals are on life support.|

“In Africa alone, more than 500 billion US Dollars will be required to achieve universal energy access by 2030. By then, the climate finance adaptation gap for the continent may reach $440 billion. The Secretary-General has repeatedly called to increase and allocate half of the climate finance to adaptation. The Glasgow decision urges developed countries to collectively double adaptation finance levels to $40 billion,” she added. 

Mohammed added that localizing climate solutions at the grassroots level is vital, hailing the efforts taken by Egypt through the Egypt Country Platform for NWFE, which provides opportunities for mobilizing finance and private investments to support Egypt’s green transition.

“We need to localize climate solutions and investments at the grassroots level within the holistic framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this regard, I am encouraged by the efforts made by Egypt in terms of the National Initiative for Green and Smart Projects at the Governorates, which aims to produce a localized investment map for Egypt,” she added.

Mohammed noted that the UN system stands ready to accompany Egypt and support the implementation of NWFE. She added that the same type of innovative cooperation is needed to ensure that the Congo Forest Basin, an invaluable carbon sink, and its populations are protected and continue to provide the much needed ecosystem services.

She noted that 15 African countries are at risk of external and public debt distress, and six are already facing debt distress. African countries are also expected to pay USD 64 billion of debt repayments in 2022, which is twice the amount that is available in financial aid. 

“We must urgently reform Multilateral development banks to take into account climate risk and fully support green transition in developing countries. Shareholders must steer a structural transformation of the financing architecture,” she said.

Mohammed noted that while some countries will need comprehensive assistance to restructure their debt, the development community must improve the multilateral framework for debt for climate adaptation swaps. I am encouraged to see that a sustainable debt hub during this forum will provide a link between debt issuances and key performance indicators addressing climate resilience.

This year’s Egypt-ICF and the Meeting of African Ministers of Economy, Finance and Environment, will provide a platform for governments, multilateral and bilateral development partners, philanthropic foundations, private sector, think tanks, and civil society to consider the challenges the continent is offset by and explore avenues to overcome them. 

The Forum’s overall objectives include: mobilization of, and acess to finance, to mobilize financing and catalyze private sector investments, focused on developing countries and Africa; financing climate action, adaptation and mitigation to leverage the necessary public and private support to accelerate climate action; and providing a timely platform to explore needed national actions that would help progress towards a just and green transition