Canada has pledged a contribution of Can$150 million ($111 million) to the G7 African Renewable Energy Initiative to support renewable energy in Africa where about 645 million people have no access to electricity.
“Canada believes that deploying clean energy in Africa is essential to addressing climate change. We are ready to work with partners to bring more renewable energy and access to electricity in Africa, where the needs and opportunities are important,” said the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change at the Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris.
A statement by Environment Canada, a government agency in charge of the environment, notes that improving access to affordable energy services can play an important role in relieving poverty and in tackling climate change. Several African states have been hit hard by the effects of climate change, with Ethiopia, one of the most affected countries. Eastern Africa state has been facing power shortages as months without rainfall which has affected the country’s hydropower plants.
The funding from Canada is part of the country’s pledge of Can$2.65 billion over the next five years to take action on climate change in developing countries and is the most significant Canadian climate finance contribution ever.
Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau expressed the country’s commitment to assisting countries in Africa that have limited capacity to address climate change.
“We believe we need to work together through innovative partnerships and investments to really have an impact on addressing climate change,” Bibeau said.
Canada says it will work with its G7 partners to catalyze private sector investment in renewable energy in Africa, such as solar, hydro, and wind power.
Africa has received series of funding pledges aimed at responding to the effects of climate change, at the ongoing COP 21, including $135 million from the European Union and $2 billion from France and locally $20 billion for 10 gigawatts of renewable energy.