The ZERO coalition is calling on banks, trusts and other funding agencies to divest from fossil fuels. The campaign calls for ZERO emissions and ZERO omissions in reports. A good example of this would be the omission from South Africa’s draft IRP (Integrated Resource Plan) 2018 of the planned new coal-fired power plant to supply the EMSEZ in Limpopo, with an announced installed capacity of between 3,000 MW and 4,600 MW. This means that the impacts this installation will have on South Africa’s carbon budget, pollution, water usage and social justice have not been factored-in the IRP 2018.
Energy poverty is an urgent issue on the continent that needs to be tackled, however, the investments need to be made in off-grid, mini-grid and smart-grid renewables as well as energy efficiency for energy production to benefit all. The stance and decisions of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) today are critical as they will affect the feasibility of future fossil fuel projects on the continent. Public finance institutions have a responsibility to take the lead and draw the way forward. Their approach needs to be characterised by ambition, inclusivity and liability. MDBs should provide support to all their member states to reach energy access goals whilst helping them attain their Nationally Determined Contributions and transition towards an inclusive low-carbon economy.