Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the European Union-Africa Green Investment Forum, today:
It is a pleasure to greet this European Union-Africa Green Investment Forum organized by the Portuguese presidency of the European Union and the European Investment Bank.
As the world works to address the COVID-19 pandemic, combat the existential threat of climate change and accelerate our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, your gathering is an opportunity to strengthen partnerships and boost investment in Africa for the benefit of all.
Africa faces fast-growing demand for industrial and domestic energy consumption while seeking to promote sustainable development and implement Agenda 2063. The European Union has pledged to align its pandemic recovery with an enhanced climate target for 2030 and to no longer fund fossil fuel infrastructure abroad. I see agendas converging around financing a green transition and greater resilience. Several African countries are rapidly scaling up renewables, particularly solar and wind power. This momentum needs to be accelerated through investments in four key areas.
First, coupling job creation with green technologies. Renewable energy provides growing numbers of jobs and this number will grow. Developing the technical capacities of Africa’s women and young people for these new jobs would simultaneously tackle unemployment and the climate crisis. Second, creating incentives for industry to transition to green energy solutions. Africa is the richest continent in solar resources yet has received only 2 per cent of global renewable energy investments in the past decade.
Third, investing in adaptation and resilience. This is crucial for protecting development gains and ensure equitable prosperity over the long term. I have asked bilateral and multilateral donors to ensure that 50 per cent of all public climate finance be dedicated to adaptation, and to ease access to finance. This is long overdue. Fourth, investing in start-ups and providing risk guarantees for private investments.
Climate action is a $3 trillion investment opportunity in Africa by 2030, and I see the European Union as a key partner for the continent. I look forward to working closely with you as we promote green investments in Africa. Please accept my best wishes for a fruitful forum.