EU now commits EUR 4 billion to climate change recovery projects

King Mfumu Difima Ntinu, President of Union Africa of Traditional Authorities speaks at the closing ceremony of the 9th Africities Conference in Kisumu. [Michael Mute, Standard]

The Europen Union has reaffirmed its support for sub-Saharan countries to adapt to climate change.

EU ambassador to Kenya, Henriette Geiger, said climate adaptation projects and building climate-resilient infrastructure are essential for Africa to prevent further loss of livelihoods due to floods, cyclones and droughts.

"If we put together all Team Europe commitments to Official Development Assistance (ODA) for 2021-2027, they add up to EUR 4 Billion. This will indicatively involve about EUR 700 million in grants and over 3 billion in concessional loans.

These amounts do not include foreign direct investments, which we hope to further increase by leveraging private sector investments,“ she said.

Ms Geiger said with the signatories of the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), EU has been progressing from planning to implementation by unlocking climate finance at the local level through the work of the member state organisations that serve as implementing partners for the initiative.

She spoke during the last day of the 9th edition of the Africities Conference in Kisumu yesterday. 

She revealed that European Investment Bank (EIB), also called the EU’s Climate Bank, currently, EIB Global is establishing its largest hub outside Nairobi from where it covers the region. It currently has one in Luxembourg.

“Devolution has also been a cross-cutting theme across EU programmes and environmental sustainability and resilience, and democratic governance will continue to be priorities,” she said.

In Kenya, the EU and the EIB have been providing support to counties given the crucial role of local governments in achieving development outcomes.

Among the support project Geiger cited is the Turkana windmill park which has become the largest wind energy generating plant in Africa.

“The production of renewable electricity, which has even reached a surplus in Kenya, constitutes a major incentive for cities to transition towards electric mobility,” she said.

She announced that after eight years of preparing the institutional, legal and technical conditions for Nairobi’s transition to ‘green public transport’, the EU expects to start in late 2022 the procurement of the works of the first electric Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Africa. 

With a EUR 45 million grant to be committed by the European Commission this summer, we expect to leverage a total EUR 300 million to finance the core BRT Line 3 in Nairobi.

She said GIZ will further develop the institutional framework for electric mobility and together the EU aims to become the contributor to this necessary transition for cities to be cleaner.

“We hope that Nairobi’s transformation will facilitate the development of further BRT systems in cities such as Kisumu and Mombasa, and more to follow,” she noted.

She said the Sustainable Energy Technical Assistance (Seta) programme, is being offered to county governments in implementing policies and regulations, plans and projects in renewable energy, access, and efficiency.

She explained that the Green Mini-Grid Facility, is enhancing access to energy by 100,000 Kenyans facilitating access to health services and education while replacing diesel generators, kerosene lamps, and firewood.

“The Go Blue programme seeks to unlock sea-land opportunities in coastal urban centres while conserving the coastal and marine environment as well as promoting good maritime governance,” she said

The Instruments for Devolution Advise and Support (IDEAS) - supports the responsible transfer and sustainable use of resources for Local Economic Development selected through a participatory and consultative process with the local communities, private sector and Civil Society.