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Financing climate change in Africa

Pastoralists in Karamoja graze their livestock in Kotido District. INDEPENDENT/RONALD MUSOKE

Global leaders commit to mobilise US$2bn to accelerate climate change adaptation

Kampala, Uganda | RONALD MUSOKE | As Africa struggles to emerge from shocks caused and accelerated by climate change amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, world leaders have committed to prioritise actions that will help the continent emerge stronger, healthier and more resilient.

Speaking April 06 during a virtual leaders’ dialogue convened by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Global Centre on Adaptation and the Africa Adaptation Initiative, more than 30 African heads of state and other global leaders rallied behind a bold new Africa Climate Change adaptation programme.

The leaders resolved that the continent’s development –be it in infrastructure, food security, urban development, and youth empowerment through education, jobs and entrepreneurship– can take a different path based on a deep understanding of climate risks.

“Africa’s only choice is to adapt to climate change. We all must change how we plan, invest and grow in a warming world,” they said.

Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, the CEO of the Global Centre on Adaptation, said: “Africa has a unique opportunity to advance its development exponentially if it invests now in a climate-smart adapted future based on a deep understanding of climate risks and solutions that put nature and people at the centre.”

According to Ban Ki-moon, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations and the current chair of the Global Centre on Adaptation, the COVID-19 pandemic is eroding recent progress in building climate resilience and leaving countries and communities more vulnerable to future shocks. Africa must make up for lost ground and lost time.

“Climate change did not stop because of COVID-19 and neither should the urgent task of preparing humanity to live with the multiple effects of a warming planet,” he said.

Funds needed

The main objective is to mobilise US$25bn to accelerate climate change adaptation actions across the continent.  Through the Africa Adaptation Acceleration programme, the AfDB and the Global Centre on Adaptation, Africa will use these funds to leverage an additional US$12.5bn from all sources, public and private, to accelerate climate change adaptation on the continent.

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said it is also time for developed countries to meet their promise of providing US$100bn annually for climate finance.

Adesina said the International Monetary Fund’s plan to issue US$650bn of new special drawing rights (SDRs) to boost global reserves and liquidity will be enormously helpful to support green growth and climate financing for economic recovery.

The leaders noted that access to adequate finance is a challenge to achieving climate change adaptability. Globally, only about 10% of global climate finance goes to adaptation and just about 19% of this goes to Africa.

“We call on the international community to ensure that those goals are reached. With the support of our partners, we will mobilise and further accelerate action in the months ahead, the leaders said in their call to action.

“Our aim is to ensure that the initiative mobilizes the additional resources by the time of COP27, the ‘Africa COP’, in 2022. They said success in adapting will ensure the continent’s progress towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We cannot allow the COVID-19 pandemic to compound this crisis,” they said.

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