The World Bank has announced a new blue economy program that will catalyze funding and provide an operational response to the development challenges of the coastal-marine areas of the African continent.
The Blue Economy for a Resilient Africa (BE4RAP) program was announced at a World Bank COP 27 event, attended by Egypt’s Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister of Union and Environment Hamza Khamis Hamza and Morocco’s Deputy Budget Director for the Ministry of Economy. and Finance Youssef Farhat. The program aims to address the challenge faced by coastal countries to manage their coastal and marine resources to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty, while adapting to the effects of climate change.
A first for the World Bank in Africa, a “Mangrove Blue Carbon Pilot Program” was announced as part of BE4RAP. The $13.5 million program includes financing of $2 million from IDA and $3 million from PROBLUE, a multi-donor trust fund hosted by the World Bank, and $8.5 million from the Danish energy company Ørsted. The funds will go towards the planting, technical assistance and maintenance for 20 years of 3,000 hectares of mangroves in Ghana, as part of the West Africa Coastal Areas Management (WACA) Program financed by the World Bank. Other donors, including private, public and multilateral partners, have expressed interest in contributing to a portfolio of blue economy investments in Africa.
“BE4RAP is about doing more, better and faster,” said Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy of the World Bank Valerie Hickey. “Capitalizing on existing programs and partnerships, we rally under the leadership of coastal African countries and support each with financial and technical assistance.
A series of 12 thematic papers on BE4RAP solutions have been launched, showcasing the impact of existing World Bank programs and financing opportunities that can be scaled up for Africa to unlock the full potential of a resilient economy. From biodiversity-rich ecosystems to fisheries management and innovation, coastal countries in Africa can maximize the benefits of sustainably managed oceans. The program will build on successful programmatic experiences on the continent such as Morocco’s blue economy program, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and analytical work such as the Blue Skies, Blue Seas report.
The Blue Economy for a Resilient Africa program is expected to convene a “Focus on Africa Blue Marketplace” in 2023. Building on the World Bank’s extensive existing portfolio in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, the BE4RAP aims to mobilize new support , financing and partnerships to meet the ambition of COP 27 to have an Africa-wide initiative providing innovative climate solutions, in particular to blue economy.
Quotes from partners who have expressed their support for the program:
“The French Development Agency (AFD) is deeply concerned about the well-being of African peoples, cultures, countries and the environment. With a large portfolio of activities in all sectors on the continent, AFD is increasingly committed to climate, biodiversity and the SDGs. Addressing several of these challenges at once, the blue economy is a major part of the solution, and we want to fully partner with the World Bank on the BE4RAP. said Cassilde Brenière, Deputy Director of Operations, French Development Agency.
“We are very pleased that NDF funding to the World Bank for the West Africa Coastal Zone Management Program Scaling-Up Platform has supported the design of the innovative new blue carbon project for Ghana. It has unlocked funding from both the public and Nordic private sectors that has the potential to be replicated across the coastal landscape and in other countries in Africa. We look forward to further engaging with the World Bank and many other partners to promote a sustainable and resilient blue economy, including through initiatives such as the BE4RAP,” said Martina Jägerhorn, Program Manager, Nordic Development Fund.
“We see an untapped realization of the potential of using blue carbon in coastal and marine ecosystems for carbon sequestration. In our view, access to carbon finance should be simplified. Too often we see one or more intermediaries in carbon trading, leaving less carbon price available to recipient countries and people living in affected ecosystems,” said Ingrid Reumert, Group Stakeholder Relations Manager, Ørsted, Denmark.
“Local-level initiatives as derivatives of green civil society are one of the most important pillars for enhancing more resilient ecosystems. They are also a catalyst for strong solutions to many climate-related issues. I hope BE4RAP will be inclusive and provide a platform where communities and civil society can speak oute,” said Ahmed Yassin, co-founder, Banlastic, Egypt
Similarly, research organizations such as the National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) wish to commit:
“The IRD recognizes the importance of science and higher education for the blue economy and the climate in Africa. The IRD welcomed the collaboration with the World Bank on the African Center of Excellence for Coastal Resilience (ACECoR) organized by the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Therefore, the IRD wishes to partner with BE4RAP and looks forward to developing partnerships that can support African countries, their institutions and their populations”, said Corinne Brunon-Meunier, deputy director of the National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD).