The European Investment Bank and Meridiam showcase a new investment initiative at COP28 to protect vulnerable cities in Africa from climate change


On Monday December 4th, at COP28 in Dubai, the European Investment Bank and Meridiam presented the first project – in Mauritania – to be developed and financed by The Urban Resilience Fund (TURF). The Nouakchott Coastline Development Project, managed by Meridiam, aims at protecting Mauritania’s capital city from coastal erosion and flooding, while also developing new activities to the benefit of its communities. The project will take account of the needs of the most vulnerable, will help to preserve existing activities, and will enable the development of new economic opportunities. It is designed to be resilient to the impacts of climate change or other external factors, using as far as possible solutions that are environmentally friendly and viable in the long term.


The project could prove a helpful financing model for the challenge of adaptation in coastal cities highly vulnerable to climate change. It illustrates the success of the TURF approach to cooperation between the public and the private sector in order to design and deliver innovative solutions to climate adaptation. It is based on a combination of traditional “bricks & mortar” and nature-based technical solutions and innovative economic model focused on leveraging long term value preservation and creation.


EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, commented: “Two years ago, the EIB announced its adaptation action plan and the intention to triple our financing by 2025 to support those already impacted by the effects of climate change. We know this is hugely ambitious and we are working with our clients to increase the focus and work on solutions. We also need to show that adaptation projects can be bankable with returns for private investors. That’s why I find TURF and the Nouakchott project so interesting as a possible model for us all in this endeavour.”


Meridiam CEO Thierry Déau, added: “For almost a decade, Meridiam has been developing much needed sustainable infrastructure assets across Africa. We have launched TURF, a unique blended finance initiative, as we wanted a dedicated instrument to tackle issues faced by African cities around climate adaptation. Meridiam is grateful for the support of EIB as an anchor investor in TURF”.


Introduced by EIB Vice-President Mr Ambroise Fayolle, Madame Lalya Aly Kamara, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development of Mauritania opened an event at COP28, “Supporting adaptation of Coastal Cities – First Investment of The Urban Resilience Fund”. Panellists included Thierry Déau – founder and CEO of Meridiam, Milena Messori, EIB acting Director Corporate Finance and Global Activities at EIB, Rogier van den Berg, Global Director WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, Stelios Grafakos, Principal Economist at GGGI and Peter J. Hall – Resonance Impact Advisory.


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