While Africa faces diverse needs, it is disproportionately affected by the global crisis of climate change, hence, the continuous call for access to adequate financing. As recently highlighted by Rwanda’s Prime Minister, Edouard Ngirente, there is a need to secure concessional financing and private investment for Africa to remain on track of achieving its development goals. The New Times’ Alice Kagina had an exclusive interview with Jonathan Nzayikorera, Executive Director for the Eastern Africa Constituency, African Development Bank, to shed more light on how the private sector can be brought on board for climate financing and potential for Rwanda to issue a green bond. Below are excerpts. There has been low uptake of fund meant for the private sector with more than $242 million untapped financing. What’s missing? There are a number of reasons behind that, but the main one is the weakness among most multilateral development banks where private sector is not aware of opportunities available for them. Of course, these banks have some stringent rules that are somehow difficult to achieve. Commercial banks take one’s assets as collateral but development banks can’t do that, hence, it becomes complicated to lend to individuals. However, for the bank that has these products for the private sector, it is important to make them known, and have instruments of lending through commercial banks or go through rigorous process to assist project by project and make risk analysis, at the bank’s level. I believe with more awareness, the private sector will be able to access the available financing. ALSO READ: Over $200m in untapped financing for Rwandan private sector – AfDB Rwanda is hosting the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation (APTF), an AfDB flagship initiative. What does this mean in the grande picture of health security on the continent? Actually, this means a lot in terms of being complimentary to the whole ecosystem of pharmaceutical and medicine industry. More than 90 percent of vaccines and drugs used in Africa are imported and more than 60 percent pharmacies are owned by non-Africans, this challenges the access to the much-needed products. In addition to the intellectual property rights that cannot allow Africans to produce such products on the continent, let alone the technology needed to do so. That’s what led to the setting up of a fit-for-purpose foundation that can mobilise and advocate for Africans to access the technology for research development and work on intellectual property barriers while acting as a mediator between local and external manufacturers. For Rwanda to host this foundation, it is a recognition of what the government is doing to boost the pharmaceutical industry as well as help in terms of complementing with other institutions hosted in the country such as African Medicine Agency that will focus on the production while the foundation acts on the technology access. African leaders have been calling for concessional financing and private investments for climate action. Of what importance would it be for Rwanda to issue a green bond given its economic context, as we have seen some countries do? First of all, a bond is a debt instrument for any country to mobilise resources and it becomes green when the proceeds are used in projects that are environmentally sustainable. It would be a good move in a manner that we are facing climate change issues with the recent loss of many lives. So, Rwanda, like many other countries, is interested in dealing with the impact of climate change and it is important to get such resources. This provides another avenue for financing which is actually cheap to Rwanda. It would be more than timely to have it now because the country is raising resources through different instruments to finance the readily available green projects. The private sector is crucial in driving climate action but we don’t often see it at the table of discussions in policy drafting rooms to understand their role, where are they? Most of these discussions are held at macro level, that’s why the private sector is not visible in a manner that should be seen but we ought to make sure that we move from that level to a business perspective. For instance, a CEO of a certain company would want to know the contribution of using electrical cars instead of fuel to their business performance. That is where I see the missing link. We need experts at institutional level, whereby if we are sensitizing business people, we need to show the cost-to-income benefits not only being told to deal with global warming issues. Governments and advocates need to work on linking the macro level of policy making to business perspective for people to understand their part of contribution.