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Kim confirms African leaders’ plea for World Bank’s support


With just few days to the kick-off of the Africa Investment Forum 2018 (AIF) in Johannesburg, South Africa, African leaders have reiterated the need for the World Bank to do more to eradicate energy poverty across the continent.

The President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, had during his remarks at the IMF/World Bank meetings in Bali, Indonesia, early this month, confirmed that African leaders had approached him and said that they needed more support to provide baseload power in their countries.

He said that these African leaders told him it was wrong for institutions like the World Bank to tell them they cannot use fossil fuels for baseload electricity.

Kim said that leaders across the developing world told him: “You’ve come to us in Africa who have put almost none of the carbon in the air and you can tell us we can’t have baseload electricity.

“You’re outraged by climate change, we have almost no responsibility for putting the carbon in the air and yet you’re telling us we can’t develop and have baseload energy because we can’t use a single drop of fossil fuel for our own energy needs. And I can tell you, when I hear that from our leaders, from people in industry, in places like Africa, it’s compelling to me”, Kim stressed.

With an estimated 1.1 billion people, representing 14% of the global population, not having access to electricity bases on the International Energy Agency (IEA) report, the World Bank has announced it will not fund upstream oil and gas projects from 2019 onwards, which follows a similar ban on coal financing.

However, Kim recalled that the African leaders made a strong case for support, telling him that “we feel that you have to listen to the social justice arguments from people from poor countries who have not put any of the carbon in the air and want to have baseload.”

It would be recalled that Bloomberg had reported in May this year that climate talks organized by the United Nations ended with “developing countries demanding more clarity from their richer counterparts on when a promised package of $100 billion in finance will materialize”.

The report indicated that “developing nations want more detail on what money is coming before signing up to the Paris rules”.

Earlier in late 2017, Standard and Poor’s released a report querying where $100 billion would come from, citing a need for many countries to increase budgets and debt burdens to finance their pledges

The report by Standard and Poor’s stated: “In our view, it is very unlikely that governments would be willing, or able, to risk deteriorating their creditworthiness by stretching their budgets and debt burdens to fund the implementation costs.”