African Climate Action Partnership

Partnering on climate action in Africa

New Africa Mini-grids Community of Practice Launched

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New Africa Mini-grids Community of Practice Launched

The Africa LEDS Partnership (AfLP), in collaboration with the LEDS GP Energy Working Group (EWG), hosted the inaugural meeting for the new Africa Mini-grids Community of Practice (AMG-CoP) a day before the ninth Africa Carbon Forum commenced in Cotonou, Benin. The formation of the AMG-CoP is in response to the AfLP membership identifying mini-grid systems as a priority action area for the design of low-emissions development strategies.

Mini-grids present one of the most economical opportunities to achieving universal access to electricity. However, there are several multifaceted challenges to unlocking and catalysing investment into commercial and small scale mini-grids, most notably developing an enabling regulatory environment.

The AMG-CoP has been conceptualised as a country driven initiative, with the inaugural meeting serving as a starting point for countries to identify common challenges and barriers, agree on the priority areas for further development and share lessons and strategies for addressing mini-grid development and rural electrification. Key priorities identified at the meeting include governance and policy for an enabling regulatory environment, business models and unlocking finance for mini-grid development.

The EWG and AfLP are acting as “co-pilots” and have designed a conceptual framework that provides guidance and flexibility to a country-driven, peer-to-peer learning and collaboration platform. The inauguration workshop saw ten African countries convene to discuss the pertinence of mini-grids to their respective countries and national priorities, and formed a close-knit group of peers that will build on this relationship moving forward.

The AMG-CoP will convene for the second time at the AfLP Annual Event, and interested parties, including State and non-State actors, are encouraged to contact the AfLP Secretariat for further information on how to get involved.

Photo: AfLP

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Members of Africa LEDS Partnership boost climate finance skills

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Members of Africa LEDS Partnership boost climate finance skills

In December 2016, the Africa LEDS Partnership (AfLP) held a three day training program on climate finance in Casablanca, Morocco. LEDS GP’s Leo Roberts reports:

The LEDS GP, together with 4C-Maroc and GIZ, brought together AfLP members to explore how to unlock international climate finance and enhance climate finance readiness. The training aimed to help technical staff and decision-makers from across Africa and the Middle East to deepen their knowledge of:

  • The international climate finance architecture;
  • Accessing international climate finance;
  • Good financial governance;
  • Opportunities available from the Green Climate Fund; and
  • Engaging the private sector in low emission development.

During the workshop, participants took part in a combination of technical training, peer-to-peer learning presentations, immersive group and individual exercises, and direct presentations from leading experts on climate finance.

Many of the participants represented national designated authorities or focal points for the Green Climate Fund or Adaptation Fund, while others had played key roles in establishing national climate funds. One of the main focus areas of the workshop was developing project pipelines, with discussions around how best to build these pipelines in various contexts. Participants found value in an interactive exercise on prioritizing projects, in which they ran through the process of identifying suitable criteria for project selection. Many participants identified this process as something they looked forward to applying in their own day-to-day work.

One theme of interest was in developing national climate funds. Representatives from Rwanda gave excellent presentations on their own climate fund; other participants said they hoped to replicate this example at home.

The diverse cross section of expertise, backgrounds, and job roles among the participants encouraged an atmosphere of peer-to-peer learning, collaborative technical training, and network-building. Participants’ feedback included:

“The training met expectations 100 percent…it revealed that we need more and more of these kinds of training in order to…share experiences.” 

“This training has taught me about new tools and criteria for prioritizing funding opportunities, as well as approaches to tracking and coding climate finance…although we needed a better gender balance!”

“The training was very beneficial to me and will be used to change things in my country.”

Ensuring that their work continues beyond the workshop itself, participants sought the establishment of an AfLP climate finance community of practice. The AfLP will be taking up this idea in 2017, and working with members to explore how such a community could be created and sustained, to help members continue to share best practices.

Photo: Leo Roberts

Africa LEDS Project Scoping Meeting in Kenya

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Africa LEDS Project Scoping Meeting in Kenya

The Kenya modelling scoping meeting took place on 22nd February 2017 at the National Climate Change Resource Centre Amphitheatre, Nairobi Kenya. The objective of the meeting, designed as a Focus Group Discussion (FGD), was to clarify entry points for project intervention to ensure alignment with Kenya climate objectives & socio-economic priorities as stipulated in the NDCs & LEDS plans and the National Development blue print, the Kenya vision 2030 respectively.

The FGD involved an inclusive set of stakeholders needed to ensure modelling actions are most responsive to these Kenya priorities. Respectively it involved participation of modelling stakeholders drawn from government ministries (environment, agriculture, energy and lands); academia & research. These stakeholders presented on the country priority and state of modelling activities. The project technical team lead by UN Environment and comprising the LEDS GP/NREL & AfLP/ KNUST provided technical backstopping. The country stakeholders narrowed down scope of potential activities to those most reflective of the diverse country priorities. To this end, at the sectorial level, Kenya stakeholders prioritized clean energy and agriculture, lands & forestry (AFLOU). The modelling will complement developments in these sectors by providing the analytical framework to forecast carbon offset vis a vie jobs created and economic expansion actualized by alternate investment decisions in each of these sectors as well as their amalgamation. This will inform optimal policy decisions as Kenya progresses in implementing its vision 2030.

For more information, see the Africa LEDS Project website

Africa LEDS Project Scoping Meeting in Ghana

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Africa LEDS Project Scoping Meeting in Ghana

A modelling scoping meeting for the Africa LEDS Project took place in Accra, Ghana, at the beginning of March with the objective of ensuring alignment between the project and the Ghanaian national plans, including the Ghana Vision 2020, the NDCs and the National Development blueprint. A range of modelling stakeholders from government, academia and the private sector participated in the meeting presenting on the country’s priorities and the current status of modelling activities. Clean energy and agriculture were identified by stakeholders as priority areas. The Africa LEDS Project will complement activities in these two sectors through the analysis of employment and economic expansion in relation to carbon offsets, informing national policy to assist the implementation of the 2020 vision.

See the Africa LEDS Project website for more information.

Photo: Africa LEDS Project

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REAL service collaborates with NDC Help Desk

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REAL service collaborates with NDC Help Desk

The LEDS GP REAL service is collaborating with the NDC Help Desk to expand the services of both programs to member governments in providing high quality, no-cost expert advisory support on NDC and LEDS topics. The programs are complementary and our secretariats will coordinate internally to provide the best technical advisory experts for a given request.

The NDC Help Desk expands the technical services available from the NDC Support Cluster, which is funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB). Nine organizations, including LEDS GP, contribute to the NDC Helpdesk to offer tailored, short-term assistance in a set of essential fields related to NDC implementation, including political and institutional frameworks, sector approaches, financing, and data and transparency.

Find out more details about the NDC Help Desk

To submit a request, please email for REAL assistance, or respectively for the NDC Helpdesk,

Photo: Asian Development Bank/Flickr

Exploring Africa’s options for unlocking climate finance

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Exploring Africa’s options for unlocking climate finance

This feature, from the Africa LEDS Partnership’s Emma Baker, discusses the outcomes of our regional workshop, ‘How can Africa finance LEDS and NDCs implementation?’ 

Since the signing of the Paris Agreement, which has now been ratified by 178 countries across the world, the focus of climate change conversations has shifted from “intended” climate actions to the implementation of national climate change commitments (NDCs). Whether the 1.5oC target is attainable or not, for Africa, one of the main priorities is the pursuit of low emission development strategies (LEDS) that combine climate change actions with national development priorities. However, the ongoing challenge for African governments, civil society and private sector organisations involved in LEDS and NDC implementation is access to finance.

The Africa LEDS Partnership, which serves as a regional platform for LEDS activities in Africa, brought together over 80 members for an annual workshop in Kigali last month to discuss the theme, ‘How can Africa finance LEDS and NDCs implementation?’ With an emphasis on peer-to-peer learning, the broad aim of the workshop was to share knowledge, highlight leadership and strengthen collaboration between African countries on low emission and climate resilient development strategies.

“The Africa Rising narrative remains intact” pronounced one of the panellists, Andrea Athanas from GECCO, as more foreign direct investment is currently flowing to Africa than any other continent. Yet climate change presents a major threat to future growth and development and has the potential to undo recent progress on poverty reduction, health, education etc. So why is climate finance still so difficult to access?

The workshop brought to light three main challenges faced by those working in this field. One of the challenges, as highlighted by many of the panellists throughout the day’s sessions, is the translation of NDC ‘ideas’ into bankable projects with realistic costings that are able to attract funding. Related to this, the second challenge is a lack of technical expertise, for example in carrying out investment planning so that projects can attract venture capital and other forms of financing in their early stages. The third main challenge is how to access sizeable funds within multilateral development banks that are not specifically assigned to climate change projects, yet could play a significant role in financing low emission development strategies.

There were many different solutions shared and discussed by the workshop participants, both in formal panel discussions and informal table conversations. Firstly, political engagement and stakeholder participation was noted to be key for ensuring buy-in at the highest level. Africa LEDS Partnership speakers Dr Charles Mutai and Bright Ntare spoke of their national climate change funds in Kenya and Rwanda, respectively, which allow for the streamlining of climate change activities with development planning. Within governments themselves, there is also a need for cross-sectoral strategies that can create opportunities for new institutional arrangements to access funds from multilateral development banks, such as renewable energy and sustainable transport projects. In terms of the public-private nexus, the vast majority of climate finance in Africa comes from the private sector. Therefore, there is a real need to start leveraging private finance to grow the amount of public financing offered. Another suggestion put forward by UNDP’s Faris Khader was the importance of de-risking investments, especially those within the renewable energy sector, to attract more public finance.

Ideas were gathered for the LEDS GP’s Finance Working Group on proposals around unlocking more climate finance by 2020, and how the Working Group can better support the specific needs of Africa LEDS Partnership members, which will likely be addressed in a finance training session later this year. Some of these needs included assistance with MRV mechanisms, developing project proposals and business plans and, in general, building climate finance readiness through a more in-depth understanding of the climate finance instruments and funds available.

Photos: Emma Baker

COP22 blog: Supporting LEDS and NDC implementation in Africa

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COP22 blog: Supporting LEDS and NDC implementation in Africa

The Africa LEDS Partnership (AfLP) COP22 side event took place on Tuesday 8th November 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco. The event focused on the AfLP’s work in supporting the implementation of low emission development strategies (LEDS) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) across Africa.

The event was opened by Stephen King’uyu, AfLP Steering Committee co-chair, and representative from the Ministry of Environment, Kenya, who facilitated a lively discussion among the following panelists:

Ms. Wagombe highlighted the contribution of LEDS GP’s Remote Expert Assistance on LEDS (REAL) service to the development of Kenya’s climate change policy, amongst other elements of support to national action.

Mr. Yeboah spoke about ECREEE’s role, working with the Worldwatch Institute, in providing energy guidance for AfLP members, scoping technical assistance provided on request, and fostering a Community of Practice for Africa on energy issues. This prompted multiple questions from the floor concerning engagement of the private sector, and how a new NDC Investment Accelerator will operate in practice.

The panel responded that building capacity in accessing finances is critical, especially in the financing of African nations’ Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). Mr. Mugangu provided the example of DRC’s NAMA on sustainable charcoal production, which steered the conversation towards accessing the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other multilateral mechanisms. Another gap that was identified is access to technology, both in terms of transfer (financed projects) and research and development, to ensure that the technology is suited to the needs of communities on-the-ground.

Photo: Ollivier Girard for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

LEDS GP Fellowship 2016: Interview with Abbas AbdulRafiu

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LEDS GP Fellowship 2016: Interview with Abbas AbdulRafiu

Abbas AbdulRafiu, our 2016 Fellow for the Africa region, is the Principal Scientist/Head of Pollution Control at the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Nigeria. In this interview Abbas talks to our communications team about his background in low emission development and what he is working on in his Fellowship at the University of Sussex.

How long have you been working with low emission development strategies (LEDS)?

I joined the conversation around low emission development in South Africa in 2014, which was about the same time as the inception of the Africa LEDS Partnership. At that time my organization had been developing a regulation pertaining to low emission development, and it was this that led me to the conference in South Africa. Ever since then I’ve been in touch with people across Africa to see how we can synchronize regulations and laws to foster an entirely low carbon mechanism across the continent; especially in the areas of energy generation, transportation, and agriculture. At NESREA I conduct monitoring, inspections, and auditing of the environment to ensure that the benefits of natural resources yield sustainable development outcomes. My main focus is on policy development in Nigeria, but I have also worked on directing policy for a number of African countries including Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Ghana.

How did the idea of your fellowship come about?

When the conversation around climate change started in Nigeria, it took until the release of the IPCC’s First Assessment Report in 1990 for the science behind climate change to become generally accepted. After the science was accepted the issue then became: how will climate change affect our economy? Nigeria is a mono-economic country based on oil and hydrocarbons. Accepting this, implementing a low carbon mechanism now puts the focus on integration into our economy – this is the really challenging area. Currently we are looking at whether we can go to 50, 60, or 70 percent renewable energy – this is what we are hoping to achieve in the next five or ten years.

Yet in Nigeria we still have gaps in our institutional framework and capacity for low carbon development. To address these gaps, we are integrating inter-ministerial machineries and the required institutions that need to come on board in order to achieve our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). For my Fellowship I wanted to take this challenge to the faculty members at the Center on Innovation and Energy and Demand (CIED), University of Sussex and look at what is working in the UK and other European countries in terms of low carbon development, and focus on how to translate this into a Nigerian context and by extension, to other African countries.

What are the objectives of your fellowship?

I would like to acquire new skills and knowledge on sound policy, technology, and investment choices leading to low emission reduction, as well as gain understanding of the potential co-benefits of clean and renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, and energy conservation. I am also keen to gain skills on strategic issues in conducting renewable energy and low emission development research, technical assistance, networking, and policy dialogue activities that can be translated into my context on return to Nigeria.

What learning will you bring to your home institution?

I will develop LEDS by governing LEDS processes and integrating them into other national plans for climate change mitigation and adaptation. These are key areas of policy transition and will go on to address Nigeria’s NDC.

What do you hope the impact will be for your fellowship/how will you implement what you learn in your country?

I hope to contribute to the low emission development policies and programs in Nigeria by improving existing policies and introducing new activities in my Agency. These will enhance sound practices and promote energy security built on clean energy. I shall create platforms that will raise awareness and build the capacity of others in key areas of low carbon development, renewable energy, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

I will serve as a source of information for various stakeholders; representing my Agency on low emission development and clean energy issues at various levels of government and international forums. Ultimately I hope to become a reference point on low emission development models, projects, and financing mechanisms under the framework of LEDS GP and the Africa LEDS Partnership.

What are the opportunities/challenges for LEDS in Nigeria?

A significant opportunity for Nigeria lies in the ratification of the Paris Agreement and our country-driven plans that will enable the transition to a low carbon economy as an effective mechanism for combating climate change. Nigeria’s NDC looks at how we can reduce emissions from energy, transportation, and agriculture, and for the next few months we will be strengthening our activities in these areas. For example, the country is working on some massive solar energy projects as well as hydropower initiatives – the latter providing about 20 percent of the country’s total energy.

The main challenge is that Nigeria is a carbon-driven economy and lack of access to quality data, sophisticated scenarios, technology road maps, tools and methodologies for measurement, and reporting and verification will make moving to a low carbon economy difficult. First, capacity building efforts will need to be scaled up accordingly. Second, to partially overcome such challenges, as well as target specific high emitting sectors, sectoral LEDS are increasingly being promoted. Another pervasive challenge is inter-ministerial coordination, which is fundamental for an effective LEDS policy.

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