Canada Pledges $150 Million of Climate Funds to African Renewable Energy Initiative

Canada will provide $150 million in support for renewable energy in Africa, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna announced at a G7 African Renewable Energy Initiative session during the COP21 climate talks in Paris on Monday.

The pledge is part of the African Renewable Energy Initiative, an ambitious plan to bring 10 GW of renewable energy to the continent by 2020 and scale that up to 300 GW by 2030.

“Here in the city of lights, it is impossible to accept the fact that millions of household in Africa are still in the dark,” McKenna said.

Africa is home to more than 640 million people without electricity and an additional 120 million that rely on firewood and charcoal for fuel. In sub-Saharan African two out of three people have no access to electricity.

“However it is possible to change this,” McKenna said, adding renewable energy is not only efficient but can also reduce poverty.

McKenna said the funds are being allocated from the $2.65 billion in funding to the Green Climate Fund Canada announced in the lead up to the COP21 talks.

Egypt environment minister Khaled Fahmi said Africa is grateful for the help of G7 nations, including France and Germany.

“We have already developed governance structure that ensures this is African led and African owned,” Fahmi said. “We believe that through public funding we will be able to attract private finance.”

“We don’t need to talk much about whether Africa is in need of renewable energy or not. It needs renewable energy,” Fahmi said.

“We need renewable energy to make development climate proof.”

German environment minister Barbara Hendricks announced the G7 along with the EU and Sweden will provide $10 billion to the initiative with Germany contributing an additional €3 billion euros.

“Africa can count on this support,” Hendricks said. “If we don’t seize on renewable energies now Africa’s energy needs will be satisfied by oil, gas and coal with disastrous climate outcomes.”

Andrew Herscowitz, CEO and coordinator of USAID initiative Power Africa, said the initiative is “truly a call to real action.”

“The biggest impediments we see to renewable energy on the continent of Africa are people. The resources are there,” Herskovitz said.

Bringing clean energy to the millions in Africa without electricity will require “people willing to make the difficult reforms that are necessary to make these deals advance.”

Carol Linnitt is a journalist, editor, illustrator and co-founder of The Narwhal. Carol has been reporting on energy and environmental…

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