By Christabel Ligami

African countries should explore innovative green financing mechanisms to promote a green transition to mitigate the effects of climate change, say experts at a side event at the Economic Commission for Africa’s Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (COM2024) in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

The side event on Sustainable green financing mechanisms for Africa was hosted by the Government of Zimbabwe and organized by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.

Veronica Jakarasi, Chief Director, Climate and Meteorological Services, Zimbabwe stressed the need to support environment-friendly investments like climate-smart agriculture to mitigate climate change.

“To attract green financing, Africa needs to have policy and regulatory frameworks with set targets in line with ambitious development,” said Ms. Jakarasi.

She said Zambia and Zimbabwe are already investing in adaptation and that countries should now set aside budgets to mitigate and adapt against drought as a step towards leveraging international financing.

Green financing, she added, is the new way of mobilizing resources for financing climate change resilience. Countries should establish innovative financing mechanisms such as green bonds through public-private partnerships, to fund their climate change projects and programs.

On the role of banks in mobilizing resources for green financing, Nqobizitha Dube, Climate Finance Manager, Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe said banking institutions should be involved in climate change discussions to enable them to make informed decisions on funding green projects. Innovative clean mechanisms that reduce risks should be considered and evaluated for funding by banks to help address the effects of climate change.

Linus Mofor, senior environmental expert from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said African countries are increasingly experiencing water and heat stress at varying magnitudes, including droughts and seasonal shifts. The public international financial flows are nowhere near sufficient to address adaptation, loss and damage or to support the low-carbon development needs of developing countries.

“Green climate finance is key for sustainable development and thus, informs programming by continental and regional organizations in their quest to capacitate and facilitate low-carbon and climate-resilient development in Africa,” said Mr. Mofor.

“Green transition requires financing for sustainable investment and access to real-time climate-related data. We need to have national and regional programs aimed at galvanizing green finance for enhanced economic development and regional collaboration.”

He noted that most African countries have ratified the Paris Agreement with ambitious NDCs requiring up to $3 trillion for implementation.

“Countries should now focus on addressing issues of sustainability and finance under the Paris Agreement to move forward and mitigate climate change effects,” he said adding that countries should be supported with the tools and capacities needed to integrate climate resilience into their programs.

Paul Thangata, Head of Data and Analytics at AGRA said Africa is importing four major foods – maize, rice, soya, wheat –at a cost of $4billion. Discussions on climate change should include agriculture food systems. There is need for countries to set up processing point of production that will help in decision making on the smart agriculture systems.

George Laryea-Adjei, Global Director of Programmes, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) USA said the youth who are the majority on the continent should be involved in the climate change discussions of Africa.

“Climate change impacts, like floods, affect young people more. Climate change education should be incorporated in the school curriculum to educate young people on how to cope with the crisis, be empowered with green skills, and opportunity to solve disasters as a result of climate change,” said Mr. Laryea-Adjei.

“There is need to have programs to bridge the gap between the youth and the elderly to get them to be leaders in planting the trees and taking care of them, water conservation, taking care of plastics around, learning new skills by being attached to enterprises for a more resilient economy.”