On 26-28 September 2023, over 200 participants from 20+ countries, including high-ranking officials and industry representatives, met in Abidjan / Côte d'Ivoire for the inaugural West Africa Carbon Market Hub to discuss the way forward in carbon markets for West Africa. The conference brought together public and private sector stakeholders in the sub-region to collaborate on strengthening West African participation in carbon markets, on enhancing ambition for climate adaptation and mitigation, and on establishing effective regulatory frameworks and infrastructure for carbon markets.
The Abidjan conference was organised by the WAA (West African Alliance on Carbon Markets and Climate Finance) and the BPMI (IETA’s Business Partnership for Market Implementation), and made possible through generous support from the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and IETA. Ousmane Fall Sarr, the WAA Coordinator, expressed his satisfaction and called it “a great first event of its kind in the West African sub-region”.
The three days of workshops, panels and discussions explored various relevant topics. The opening ceremony featured high-level officials from Mauritania, Benin and Côte d'Ivoire, as well as the German embassy in Abidjan, underscoring the importance of carbon markets in their remarks. Ms Adidjatou Hassan Zanouvi (Deputy Minister), representing Mr Romuald Wadagni (Minister of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Benin) as keynote speaker of the opening ceremony, stated that she saw immense potential in various sectors, and that not participating in carbon markets would be a mistake. She also added that carbon finance, fair benefit sharing and a fair price for carbon credits were essential for NDC achievement.
Further fruitful discussions focused on the state of Article 6 readiness and operationalisation in West Africa, with a Ministerial Roundtable for sharing their experiences and lessons learned so far, including in connection with transitioning CDM projects under Article 6. Ministerial spokespersons from Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, Guinea, and Senegal highlighted challenges in institutional capacity, limited awareness of carbon markets among public and private sector organisations, the importance of robust institutional and administrative frameworks, and the essential nature of collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Other sessions discussed the role of the private sector, ways to overcome barriers related to carbon project origination and finance, the broader issues of market Integrity, fairness, equity and justice, and the necessity of improving awareness of and disseminating information about carbon markets. The conference also brought together and provided a forum for discussion between actors from the sub-region with leading international carbon market buyers and investors.
A tangible outcome of the conference is The Abidjan Call for a West Africa Carbon Market Hub, which represents a significant milestone in the journey towards sustainable development and climate action in the sub-region. It outlines a common vision on carbon market participation and identifies key actions required to leverage carbon finance for transformative change across various development sectors in West Africa.