25 September 2019

Alex Doukas, alex [at]

Oil Change International response to African Development Bank announcement to stop financing coal

NEW YORK — On Monday, September 23, at the Climate Action Summit in New York, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina stated that the bank is ending finance for coal and will support African countries in moving past oil and gas as well. While the AfDB has not provided any coal finance since 2015, this is the first time the AfDB has officially committed to no longer support coal. In response, Thuli Makama, Senior Advisor for Africa at Oil Change International, released the following statement: 

“Coal is not the future and it is powerful that the AfDB has acknowledged this reality on a global stage. This is a critical step to clean renewable energy for frontline coal communities and a climate just future for all. 

“Continued finance for coal, oil, and gas are not in line with the Paris Agreement. We would also welcome an immediate end to AfDB finance for all fossil fuels, not just coal.

“It is urgent the AfDB use this shift from finance for fossil fuels to fund more distributed renewable energy in order to achieve universal energy access for all. More than six hundred million people on the continent do not currently have access to electricity and we know that renewables are the most affordable, effective, and equitable means to fill this gap.”



  • With this announcement, the AfDB joins a number of other multilateral development banks, including the World Bank Group, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Investment Bank, in no longer financing coal. 
  • The AfDB has not provided new finance for coal since 2015. In a 2018 report tracking multilateral development bank energy finance from 2014-2016, Oil Change International found that 8% of the AfDB’s energy finance went to oil or natural gas, and 9% to renewable energy. The remaining 83% went to large scale hydro, biomass, transmission and distribution, or policy-focused projects. 
  • In a 2018 report on energy finance from the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group, Oil Change International found that the AfDB had the highest proportion of its energy finance for projects that advanced energy access at 28 percent. However, just 3 percent of energy approvals went to off-grid and distributed systems, and 1 percent went to clean cooking and heating solutions. 
  • The relevant quote from President Adesina’s statement at the UN Climate Action Summit: “And finally, let me say that coal is the past. Renewable energy is the future. For us at the African Development Bank we’re getting out of coal. We’re not doing coal. And so we have launched what is called the Green Base-Load Facility. It’s going to be 500 million dollars that will support countries to move past coal, and also other fossil fuels to move straight into renewable energy and we expect that that will allow them to have 5 billion dollars to support that transition.”