Climate initiatives win big in record-breaking AfDB meetings


African Development Bank (ADB) group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina and CS for National Treasury and economic planning Prof Njuguna Ndungu during the 2024 Annual Meetings of the ADB Nairobi. May 31, 2024. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The 2024 African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meeting held in Nairobi witnessed over Sh38 billion worth of commitments inked as Kenya further cemented its position as a preferred destination for meetings, conferences and investments.

The event that closed on Friday had African leaders led by President William Ruto discuss the need to have a global financial architecture that favours African economies in their pursuit of growth.

The forum saw Kenya commit to boosting its shareholding with $100 million (Sh13.2 billion) in three institutions: AfDB, Trade Development Bank, and the African Export-Import Bank over the next three years.

There will also be an additional $20 million (Sh2.6 billion) for the African Development Fund, a separate entity from AfDB that facilitates concessional financing to members.

The event was anticipated to have 5,000 delegates in attendance, cementing Kenya as a destination for conferences considering that the meeting came just weeks after the country also hosted the International Development Association (IDA) summit in partnership with the World Bank at the same venue.

“We had 8,300 registered participants, making this the largest attendance ever in the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group,” said AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.

During the meeting, AfDB signed a Sh4.5 billion ($35 million) multi-national climate disaster risk project with Comoros, Djibouti, Somalia, and South Sudan.

The continental lender also held further discussions with the Kingdom of Netherlands on a Sh3.5 billion ($27 million) commitment towards drought insurance to African countries.

“The Comoros is regularly hit by floods. This has an impact on economic growth and the mobilisation of public resources, but at the same time, people have to be relieved of their burden and help with reconstruction, and all this requires a lot of resources,” said Comoros Finance Minister Mohamed Chanfiou.

Climate risk featured prominently in the discussions because the effects of global warming like floods are wiping out countries’ gross domestic product (GDP) product and increasing their risk profile and making it difficult to service existing debts.

This is in contrast that Africa just contributes less than four per cent to carbon dioxide emissions.

The meeting had the Kingdom of Netherlands hold further talks with AfDB on a Sh3.5 billion ($27 million) earlier commitment to the Africa Disaster Risk Financing programme’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund.

The Fund is meant to boost the continent’s capacity to build resilience and respond to climate shocks.

Particularly, the Fund bolsters drought insurance protection for African countries to mitigate the negative impacts of climate-related extremes such as cyclones, flooding, and drought. 

“The Kingdom of the Netherlands is proud of becoming a new donor to the Africa Disaster Risk Financing Programme and providing additional funding to reduce the protection gap in Africa and make parametric insurance solutions accessible to those at the frontlines of climate change across the African continent,” said Mark Zellenrath, director at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As delegates signed multimillion deals on the sidelines of the event, the 5,000 delegates boosted the country’s visitors’ numbers, and forex inflows. Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) 2024 Economic Survey shows the tourism sector recovered from the ravages of Covid to post improvements last year.

Figures from the report show the number of international arrivals last year surpassed those of 2019, with international arrivals through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport reaching 2,086,700 compared to 2,035,500 in 2019.

“The number of international conferences increased by nine per cent to 977 while that of local conferences grew by 11.0 per cent to 10, 725 in 2023,” reads the report in part. “This was partly attributed to high-profile international conferences and meetings such as the Africa Climate Summit 2023 and the EU-Kenya Business Summit Forum leading to Nairobi City being honoured as the top city in the world in the Best in Travel 2024 by US-based travel agency, Lonely Planet.”

As the carpets fold for the AfDB annual meeting, Nairobi prepares to host the 2024 Transform Africa Summit by Smart Africa Alliance from August 20-30.