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Financing vital to tackling climate change in Africa, say experts

. Regions could lose 15% GDP to global warming

Victor Uzoho

African countries are said to be facing severe liquidity challenges that make the mobilisation of domestic resources for climate action difficult.

This was part of the submissions by experts at the Africa Climate Week, an event, which ended on Wednesday, September 29, positioned to boost climate action and a green recovery in Africa.

Specifically, Director of Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Jean-Paul Adam, said: “At both the national and global levels, the conversation is built around finance, because the COVID-19 pandemic has further narrowed the fiscal space available to African countries to mobilise the desperately needed resources.”

Adam said developed countries needed to meet their $100 billion climate finance pledge to help the most vulnerable in developing countries.

“The $100 billion is just the first step, as we need to have a detailed schedule of resources that will be available for African countries to invest in a green recovery,” he added.

The ECA Director said Africa needs a predictable flow of resources that will be available in 2025 and beyond. “The African Union has paved the way for this with the adoption of an African Green Stimulus Programme (AGSP), in January of this year.”

Meanwhile, ECA projected that African countries will lose an average of two to 5% of their gross domestic product (GDP) in even moderate warming scenarios, saying that extremely vulnerable regions such as the Sahel may lose up to 15 per cent.

Furthermore, Adam said African islands have limited built-in environmental and economic resilience to surmount warming scenarios, saying that private sector financial flows can efficiently be channelled into African investments.

“The support for African countries to issue green and blue bonds will be critical, including by de-risking such vehicles, recognising that less than one per cent of global green bond issuances are from Africa,” he added.

On his part, Head of Environment, Climate Change, Water and Land Management at the AUC, Harsen Nyambe, cited the low implementation rate of existing policies and strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change in Africa as a major challenge on the continent.

“Countries must not only agree to draft policies but implement them to win the war against climate change,” said Nyambe.

Commenting, the Director-General, Climate Change and Air Quality, at South Africa’s National Department of Environment, Forestry and Energy, Thuli Khumalo, said partnerships among countries, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector are crucial in the fight against climate change.

Ms Khumalo called on countries to implement the AGSP launched on September 16, which addresses the challenges and solutions to the issue of climate.

The support for African countries to issue green and blue bonds will be critical, including by de-risking such vehicles, recognising that less than one per cent of global green bond issuances are from Africa.

Also, AUC’s Senior Policy Officer for Climate Change and Desertification Control, Leah Wanambwa, said Africa’s battle against climate change is plagued by inadequate finances, health, poverty, and weak institutions.

She said: “Countries should rethink their development models going forward,” citing Uganda’s Green Growth Development Strategy as a good example.

Remarking, Senior Program Officer at the IDRC, Martha Melesse, deplored the fact that women and girls have limited resources, information and technology to tackle climate change.

“Recovery path towards gender resilience should be gender-sensitive for it to be a win-win situation through clean/renewable energy; climate-smart agriculture as African women provide 40% to crop production on the continent.”

She highlighted the need for more data to guide policies and action on climate change and recovery on the continent, stating “we need to recognise existing barriers women face and what role they can play in the fight against climate change. Our recovery initiatives should be gender inclusive.”

Africa Climate Week 2021 built momentum for a successful COP26, and focused on accelerating collaboration and integrating climate action into global pandemic recovery.

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