SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, May 24, 2023/ — A lack of adequate financing for tackling climate change in Africa has become dire and is “choking” the continent, African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said on Monday.
He was addressing scores of journalists from Africa and around the world at a media lunch organized to kick off its 2023 Annual Meetings in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El Sheikh.
Adesina called out developed nations for not honoring the $100 billion-a-year climate finance pledge they made to developing countries.
“Africa is being short-changed in climate finance. Africa is choking,” he told the journalists.
“Your role as the media is very important to help carry the news – the news of efforts being made, challenges being faced, and the fierce urgency of now in getting much-needed climate finance to Africa,” the Bank chief said.
The Bank Group’s Annual Meetings will allow the Bank’s Board of Governors, African leaders and development partners to explore practical ways of “mobilizing private sector financing for climate and green growth in Africa,” in line with the theme of this year’s meetings.
Adesina said the theme was chosen to draw attention to the urgent need for climate finance.
“Anywhere you look in Africa today, climate change is causing havoc,” Adesina said. “In the Sahel, hotter temperatures are drying up limited water, causing water stress for crops and livestock and worsening food insecurity.”
The Bank chief said that in vast areas of East and Southern Africa, and in the Horn of Africa, a combination of droughts and floods is causing massive losses of people and infrastructure, leading to rising numbers of refugees.
“There is still much to do, as Africa’s private sector climate financing will need to increase by 36% annually,” he said.
The African Development Bank is spearheading climate adaptation efforts across the continent and has devoted 63% of its climate finance, the highest among all multilateral development banks.
The Bank’s new Climate Action Window will support millions of farmers, enabling them to access climate-resistant seeds. The institution has also launched the Desert to Power initiative to develop 10,000 megawatts of solar power to benefit nearly 250 million people across the Sahel.
The Bank and the Global Center for Adaptation have launched the African Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) to mobilize $25 billion to support Africa’s adaptation to climate change. It has also established Alliance for Green Infrastructure (AGIA) in partnership with other institutions, to mobilize $10 billion in private investment for green infrastructure in Africa.
Adesina and the Bank Group’s operational vice presidents answered questions on the potential for using capital market instruments such as green bonds to back climate-related investments.
According to Bank estimates, Africa will need $2.7 trillion by 2030 to finance its climate change needs.
Adesina said, “If Africa had that money, the Sahel would have electricity. If Africa had that money, we would recharge the Chad basin, which has provided livelihoods for millions of people in Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon. Everything will change in all those countries; we will green the Sahel. We will insure every single African country against catastrophic weather events.”
Adesina told the journalists, “Africa’s measured natural capital alone is estimated to be worth $6.2 trillion,” which, if well harnessed, can spur a more rapid economic growth and wealth generation.
He spoke about the Bank’s flagship Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) scheme that provides heat-tolerant seed varieties to increase yield in crops such as wheat. He gave the example of Ethiopia which is now self-sufficient in wheat production and plans to export the surplus to neighbouring countries.
Dr Adesina was accompanied by Vice Presidents Professor Kevin Urama, Dr Kevin Kariuki, Dr Beth Dunford, Solomon Quaynor, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade and Simon Mizrahi.
The Bank will on Wednesday launch its annual African Economic Outlook report, a flagship publication on the state of African economies.