‘Africa’s climate change impact may hit $50bn in 2040’

The African Development Bank has projected that the impact of climate change on the continent may rise to $50billion each year by 2040, with a further three per cent decline in Gross Domestic Product each year by 2050.

According to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index for 2015, seven of the 10 countries most at risk from climate change are in Africa. This is despite contributing an insignificant five per cent of the global emissions.

The vulnerability of Africa to climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is driven by a range of factors that include weak adaptive capacity, high dependence on ecosystem goods for livelihoods and less developed agricultural production systems.

This informed the recent virtual gathering of more than 30 heads of state and global leaders, who are committed to prioritising action that help African countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and build better forward-looking futures.

Their mission was to rally behind the bold new Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme, which was launched this year in January 26, and show support for its financing.

The programme’s objective is to mobilise $25 billion to accelerate climate change adaptation actions across Africa.

While inviting his fellow leaders to revisit their climate ambitions and accelerate their action plans under their national priorities, President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African Union chairman, revealed that they needed to focus on actions to adapt to the impact of climate change.

These actions, he noted, include: nature-based solutions, energy transition, enhanced transparency framework, technology transfer and climate finance.

Ban Ki-Moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the Global Centre on Adaptation, said at the gathering that the COVID 19 pandemic was 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.”

President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, and Chair of the African Union-led Africa Adaptation Initiative, spoke of Gabon’s record in emission reductions. He said that Gabon is one of the few countries in the world that is carbon positive. “We have to insist that equal attention be paid to climate adaptation and mitigation in climate finance. Africa calls on the developed nations to shoulder the historic responsibility and to join the program to accelerate the adaptation in Africa,” Bongo said.

AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, explained that with its partners, they intend to mobilise $25 billion in financing for the success of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme.

“It is time for developed countries to meet their promise of providing $100 billion annually for climate finance. And a greater share of this should go to climate adaptation. So far, more than $20 trillion have gone into COVID-19 stimulus packages in developed countries.

“The International Monetary Fund’s plan to issue $650billion of new Special Drawing Rights to boost global reserves and liquidity will be enormously helpful to support green growth and climate financing for economic recovery. I applaud the leadership of the US government and US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, especially, on this big push,” he added.

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