Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Africa is the region most affected by climate shocks as the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) says 5 of the 10 most affected countries in 2019 are on the continent.
In just 2020 and 2021, 131 extreme-weather, climate change–related disasters were recorded on the continent—floods, 16 storms, 14 droughts, and 2 wildfires.
Climate change, therefore, poses substantial risks to African economies, threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, and could undo hard-won progress in achieving some of the key targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the African Union Agenda 2063, and the Bank’s High-5s.
Policies to support post-pandemic economic recovery for Africa, the Bank says must include initiatives to enhance the resilience of the continent by mitigating climate-related shocks that contribute to output fluctuations and poverty.
The burden of climate change on African economies and livelihoods is disproportionately high, despite the continent’s low share of global carbon emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group projected that the rate of temperature increase across Africa will exceed the global average and will be accompanied by increases in frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events almost everywhere in Africa.
The projected dry and hot conditions will have a severe impact on the continent where most people’s livelihoods are directly linked to the health of natural systems, and in many cases dependent on rainfed agriculture.
African countries are already spending substantial resources annually to cope with the effects of the climate crisis, diverting scarce resources from investment in socioeconomic development programs, and threatening to drive countries into ever deeper poverty.
The principle of a just energy transition must consider past emissions and how they shape future emissions trajectories. Africa contributed little to the historical emissions build-up and should not be denied the carbon space to develop its economy.
Africa is the least climate-resilient global region, with high vulnerability and low readiness to climate change. Its vulnerabilities are largely caused by its desert and semidesert climatic zones, low levels of socioeconomic development, and lack of technological capacity and finance for adaptation.
Many countries on the continent have a huge deficit in climate finance and investment to adopt preparedness and response measures for climate change. Developing climate adaptation measures, identifying and assessing disaster risks, and strengthening collaboration and coordination across African sub regions and countries are all urgently needed. ZIJ/14/11/2022