THE African Development Bank (AFDB) says it will allocate $25 billion to climate change adaptation over the next four years. The fund is targeted at addressing Africa’s huge vulnerability to adverse impacts of climate change and other emerging pandemics.
President of the AFDB Akinwumi Adesina made this known on Tuesday when he represented Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari at the Leaders’ Dialogue on Africa’s Covid-19 Climate Emergency virtual meeting attended by at least 30 African Leaders to discuss the challenges of facing the pandemic alongside climate change, and call for scaled-up actions and financing to combat its harmful effects.
Adesina said although Africa was the lowest emitter of carbon, it faced the worst consequences and impacts of climate change, adding that the COVID-19 stimulus packages should not deprive countries on the continent of resources needed for climate change.
“Ten of the top 12 countries most at risk of drought are in Africa. Eight out of the top 12 countries affected by agricultural risks are also in Africa. Yet, Africa does not get the resources it needs to adapt to climate change. Globally, only 10 percent of climate finance goes into adaptation, and Africa has received only three percent of global climate finance,” he noted.
According to him, the combination of COVID-19 and climate impacts had severely devastated African economies, yet countries around the world had collectively allocated over $20 trillion in COVID stimulus packages, thereby reducing the resources available to combat climate change.
“Climate change cannot wait while we address COVID-19. They must be addressed together. With Lake Chad shrinking, the less than 40 percent of the population that has direct access to potable water is expected to further decrease. A rising sea level of one meter by 2100 could lead to a loss of 75 percent of Nigeria’s delta area,” Adesina warned.
The AfDB president said climate change should be mainstreamed into stimulus packages to help African countries to ‘build forward better’ and called on development partners to urgently allocate more resources to adaptation in Africa in general and to the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) in particular.
The AAAP is an initiative to address regional adaptation gaps and support the transition of countries to low carbon development pathways. It also seeks to mobilise additional $12.5 billion to finance adaptation on the continent.
President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde, who also spoke on the issue of partnerships, highlighted initiatives undertaken by the Ethiopian government to build a climate resilient society and emphasised the importance of a globally coordinated response against these challenges affecting all nations.
Other Presidents from Congo, Kenya, Senegal and Zimbabwe talked about the need for support to accelerate the effort against climate change, which had affected food security and health on the continent.
The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Africa remained a continent with immense opportunities if urgent action was taken to contain the pandemic, deal with the serious debt burdens and work on plans and tools to tackle climate change.
The Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres also lent his voice to the call by asking G7 members and other developed countries to increase their share of climate finance allocated to adaptation and resilience from 20 to 50 percent of their total climate financing.
The Africa Covid-Climate Emergency virtual summit was hosted by the African Development Bank and Global Center on Adaptation.