The Ford Foundation announced its commitment of $3 million to launch the Extractive Industry and Climate Change Governance Fund, a five-year initiative to promote and support a more equitable governance of natural resources that leads to sustainable and inclusive development. This forms part of its philanthropic efforts in West Africa.
Focusing primarily on Nigeria and Ghana, the fund will be hosted by Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) to support a network of resource governance organisations and civic actors, anti-corruption organisations, budget advocates, and grassroot and community organisations addressing inequality as it relates to the natural resources sector in the region.
Climate change reflects a fundamental failure of global development that is rooted in the extraction of natural resources. In West Africa, the extraction of metals, minerals, and fossil fuels has exacerbated inequalities and caused severe environmental damage that drive climate change. Whether natural resources aggravate or reduce inequality depends on who controls those resources, how the benefits that derive from them are distributed across different communities, and whether those resources are used in ways that foster ecosystem restoration or degradation.
“With renewed efforts toward energy transition, there is an opportunity to transform the natural resources sector toward embracing equitable governance and sustainable practices,” said Anthony Bebbington, director of Ford’s Natural Resources and Climate Change program. “An energy transition that is both low carbon and socially just will be an asset that helps economies to thrive in West Africa at the same time as it mitigates the impacts of climate change. Key to this is centering the needs of local communities affected by resource extraction and a re-envisioning of development models and energy systems that benefits communities and sustains the planet.”
Strong civil society to help shape a more sustainable future for West Africa needed amid dwindling funding supportEmmanuel Kuyole, Ford Foundation
With dwindling funding support and in the face of the pandemic, civil society organisations in West Africa are facing significant challenges that impact their sustainability and capacity to effectively promote policy actions that target inequality and injustice.
“To thrive, we need a strong civil society that can help shape a more sustainable future for West Africa,” said Emmanuel Kuyole, program officer for Ford’s Natural Resource and Climate Change program. “As COVID-19 exacerbates deep-seated inequalities, funders must double down their support for civil society organisations to influence decisions that affect the communities they represent.”
The $3 million investment comes from the foundation’s unprecedented $1 billion social bond launched in 2020 to help strengthen and stabilise civil society organisations globally during the Covid-19 pandemic. – African Media Agency
*For more courageous stories on what corporate companies across the African continent are doing to empower communities, visit the NOWinSA/EmpowerSA page regularly!