Partners announce $13.5 million in investments and technical assistance for the first World Bank Mangrove Blue Carbon Pilot Program in Africa
SHARM-EL-SHEIKH, Nov. 16, 2022 — Today, the World Bank announced a new Blue Economy program that will catalyze financing and provide an operational response to development challenges in coastal-marine areas of the African continent.
The Blue Economy for Resilient Africa Program (BE4RAP), was announced at a COP 27 World Bank event, attended by Egypt’s Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Union and Environment Hamza Khamis Hamza, and Morocco’s Deputy Budget Director for the Ministry of Economy and Finance Youssef Farhat. The program seeks to respond to the challenge coastal countries face to manage their coastal and marine resources to spur 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 $2 million financing from IDA and $3 million from PROBLUE, a multi-donor trust fund housed at the World Bank, and $8.5 million from the Danish energy company Ørsted. The funds will go for planting, technical assistance, and maintenance over 20 years of 3,000 hectares of mangrove in Ghana, under the World Bank-financed West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA). Other financiers, 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 World Bank Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy Valerie Hickey. “By capitalizing on existing programs and partnerships, we rally under the leadership of the coastal Africa countries and support each with finance and technical assistance.”
A series of 12 thematic BE4RAP Solutions Papers were launched, showcasing impact from existing World Bank programs and financing opportunities that can be brought to scale for Africa to unleash the full potential of a resilient economy. From biodiverse ecosystems to fisheries management and innovation, Africa's coastal countries can maximize the benefits of sustainably managed oceans. The program will build upon successful programmatic experiences in 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 Resilient Africa Program is set to convene a “Focus on Africa Blue Marketplace” in 2023. Building on the vast existing portfolio of the World Bank in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, the BE4RAP is intended to mobilize new support, financing, and partnerships to respond to the COP 27 ambition to have an Africa-wide initiative bringing innovative climate solutions, notably to the Blue Economy.
Quotes from partners who have expressed support for the program:
“The French Development Agency (AFD) is deeply concerned with the wellbeing of the African people, cultures, countries and the environment. With a wide portfolio of activities in all sectors on the continent, AFD is increasingly engaging on climate, biodiversity, and the SDGs. Addressing many of these challenges at once, the blue economy is a major part of the solution, and we are keen to associate fully with the World Bank on the BE4RAP.” said Cassilde Brenière, Deputy Director, Operations, French Development Agency.
“We are very happy that the NDF financing to the World Bank for the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program Scale-Up Platform has supported the design of the new and innovative blue carbon project for Ghana. It has unlocked financing from both the public sector as well as from the Nordic private sector which has the potential to be replicated to the coastal landscape and to other countries in Africa. We look forward to engaging further with the World Bank and many other partners to promote sustainable and resilient blue economy, including through initiatives like the BE4RAP,” said Martina Jägerhorn, Program Manager, Nordic Development Fund.
“We see an unused realization of the potential in 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 middlemen in the carbon business, leaving less of the carbon price available for benefiting countries and the people living in the concerned ecosystems,” said Ingrid Reumert, Head of Group Stakeholder Relations, Ørsted, Denmark.
“Grassroots level initiatives as a derivative from green civil society are one of the most important pillars to enhancing more resilient ecosystems. These are also a catalyst for solid-ground solutions to many climate-related problems. I hope that the BE4RAP will be inclusive and provide a platform when communities and civil society can have a voice,” said Ahmed Yassin, Co-founder, Banlastic, Egypt
Similarly, research organizations like the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), are keen to engage:
“IRD recognizes the importance of higher science and education for the blue economy and climate in Africa. IRD has been happy with the collaboration with the World Bank on the Africa Center of Excellence for Coastal Resilience (ACECoR) hosted by the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Therefore, IRD is keen to associate with the BE4RAP, and look forward to developing partnerships that can support African countries, its institutions, and its people,” said Corinne Brunon-Meunier, Deputy Director, French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD).