Richard Ginika Izuora
The African Development Bank Group, has sounded a warning on the possible devastating effect of climate change in Africa.
The Group’s Acting Chief Economist and Vice President Kevin Urama, dropped the warning recently while presenting the 2022 African Economic Outlook to the Harvard community where he highlighted the adverse impacts of climate change on the continent.
Urama, whilst addressing senior faculty members of Harvard University’s Center for African Studies, also called for more robust capacity development and research on the impact of climate change in Africa
The report titled, Supporting Climate Resilience and a Just Energy Transition in Africa, highlights the growing threat climate change poses to lives and livelihoods in Africa.
Several Harvard University experts participated in Urama’s presentation, including James Stock, Vice Provost for Climate and Sustainability; Emmanuel Akyeampong, Oppenheimer Faculty Director, Harvard Center for African Studies; Peter Huybers, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences; and George Sarrinikolaou, Assistant Provost for Climate and Sustainability.
The report highlighted the need for African countries to take advantage of opportunities presented by the green transition and climate change.
Urama said Africa is home to most of the world’s green development minerals, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, rare earth, copper, aluminium and natural. He noted that these resources present Africa with huge potential to lead the world in the emerging climate-resilient development markets.
“Continued investment in high carbon energy sources presents significant asset-stranding risks as technologies, policies, and markets are increasingly shifting towards the green transition,” he added.
Urama urged world leaders to take climate finance and just energy transitions seriously in Africa. He also urged industrialised countries to fulfil the pledge made at the 2009 COP meetings to provide developing nations with $100 billion in climate finance.
He further highlighted the importance of holding, during the upcoming COP27, further discussions on the financial requirements for supporting climate resilience and the just energy transition. Those talks, he said, should include an open conversation on the loss and damages that African countries face owing to climate change impacts.
The African Development Bank’s Acting Vice President observed that the current framework for financing climate action favours countries that are more resilient over those that are more susceptible to the effects of climate change.
The participants heard that this misallocation of financial resources for climate change presents Africa with serious problems.
Research shows that nine of the world’s ten most vulnerable countries to climate change are in Africa. Further, the impact of climate change on lives and livelihoods is already costing Africa between 5 per cent and 15 per cent of its GDP per capita growth annually.
Urama said the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional lending arm of the African Development Bank Group, could serve as a vehicle for climate finance to reach fragile and climate-vulnerable countries. Channelling climate financing through the African Development Fund can accelerate the pace of climate action in these nations because the Bank can leverage funds by up to four times, Urama stressed.
A discussion followed Urama’s presentation involving the African Development Bank Group and Harvard University experts. Topics included areas for potential collaboration on work program development and implementation, focusing on inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa.
The African Economic Outlook report 2022 provides evidence-based policy options for driving inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa through building climate resilience and a just energy transition.