Johannesburg — AFRICAN countries can meet climate targets promised in the landmark Paris Agreement by catalysing trillions of dollars in private investments through a combination of smart policy reforms and innovative business models. This is according to a new report by International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group. "The private sector holds the key to fighting climate change," said IFC Chief Executive Officer, Philippe Le Houérou. "The private sector has the innovation, the financing, and the tools. We can help unlock more private sector investment, but this also requires government reforms as well as innovative business models--which together will create new markets and attract the necessary investment. This can fulfill the promise of Paris." The IFC report identifies seven industry sectors that can make a crucial difference in catalyzing private investment: renewable energy, off-grid solar and energy storage, agribusiness, green buildings, urban transportation, water, and urban waste management. Already, more than $1 trillion in investments are flowing into climate-related projects in these areas. But trillions more could be triggered by creating the right business conditions in emerging markets, the report found. Saleem Karimjee, IFC Country Manager for Southern Africa, said local private businesses had the opportunity to become regional and global leaders in promoting climate-friendly projects. "New approaches to business can unlock significant funds for climate finance that IFC and other lenders are eager to support," Karimjee said. Addressing climate change is a strategic priority for IFC. Since 2005, IFC has invested $18.3 billion of its own funds in long-term financing for climate-smart projects and mobilized an additional $11 billion from other investors.
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