By James Ochieng

Wealthier nations have been urged to deliver on their commitment to mobilize USD 100 billion a year to help developing countries cope with the effects of climate change.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President African Development Bank (AfDB) said during the Launch of the State and Trends Adaptation in Africa Report 2021 in Nairobi.

The commitment by developed countries was arrived at in Copenhagen during Conference of the Parties (COP) 15. It was to be met by 2020 and sustained to 2025.

“It’s time to finally deliver on that promise. Our continent, the least contributor to global emissions, cannot and should not bear the burden of climate change alone.”

Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change despite its little contribution to the global greenhouse gas emissions. Seven out of 10 of the most vulnerable countries to climate change being found in the continent.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

Prof. Patrick Verkooigen, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) said to unlock Africa’s full potential to climate resilience, financial flow is crucial.

“Adaptation investment needs to be mobilized from a wider variety of finance sources, where the private sector is key. So, we need to be focused with public resources to orientate them for maximal leveraging of the private sector,” he said, noting that the current financial avenues are not adequate for Africa’s adaptation needs.

He added that climate adaptation finance can also be boosted through innovative financing, leveraging of pandemic stimulus resources, and trade. For example, innovations in finance like “Climate for Debt” swaps that enable restructuring of debt to support resilience can unlock significant new resources for action.

“We need to also consider enabling conditions. All our research shows that good climate risk and resilience data points is hugely important for investment,” Prof. Verkooigen stated.

“Likewise, if we are going to increase financial flows by multiples, we have to build capacity of African financial institutions and government entities to mobilize resilient investments.”

Prof. Verkooigen during the launch

Additionally, he observed that African governments are ready to give contributions to increase resilience in the region.

“Based on an analysis of the 15 current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that provide a breakdown of cost estimates, African countries are willing to put close to 20 percent of funding, if the world comes forward with the rest,” Prof. Verkooigen said.

“If the world mobilizes $24 billion a year -$18 billion more than the $6 billion that has been coming-, African countries on average indicate that they could mobilize $6 billion a year.”

In 2020, AfDB partnered with GCA to launch the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) with the aim of mobilizing $25 billion to scale up climate change adaptation actions and drive investments in green growth in African countries.

The AAAP focuses on 4 bold pillars (agriculture, infrastructure, youth and innovative financial initiatives) where urgent action is needed and where investments in adaptation and resilience building can yield high dividends to achieve the Standard Development Goals (SDGs).

The AfDB has already committed half of the total, $12.5 billion, he said, adding ,”together with all African nations, we are mobilizing the additional $12.5 billion.”

Recognizing the negative impacts of climate change in the continent, Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s President noted that the main priority for Africa is adaptation. Effective climate adaptation will require a paradigm shift that harnesses the full potential of science and innovation, he said.

President Kenyatta added: “We need to leverage entrepreneurs’ will to test and apply new technologies and skills to broaden the range of drought or heat resistant crops and provide real time weather information.”

The event was held by GCA in partnership with the AfDB, the African Union and the Africa Adaptation Initiative.

Additional reporting by Sharon Atieno