Africa is losing between 5% and 15% of its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to the negative impacts of climate change, yet the continent represents only 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to Kevin Urama, Acting Chief Economist, African Development Bank (AfDB) during a discussion comprising global energy stakeholders, policymakers and investors which was held in Egypt.
To address this, Urama highlighted the need for developed nations and the world’s largest carbon emitters to increase climate financing, which has not been consistent and sustainable across the continent, to reverse the negative impacts of climate change on Africa’s GDP growth and socioeconomic developments.
With Africa only receiving $18.3 billion in climate finance between 2016 and 2019 – which has not been adequate to fund the continent’s climate action initiatives – Urama said the continent is now witnessing “a climate finance gap of up $1288.2 billion annually from 2020 to 2030.”
Moreover, with up to $1.6 trillion in climate financing now required between 2022 and 2030 to fund climate action initiatives across Africa, Urama added that “The global community must meet its $100 billion commitment to help the developing countries and African economies to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to adapt to it. Investing in climate adaptation in the context of sustainable development is the best way to cope with the impacts of climate change,” adding that gas must remain included in the continent’s plan for the gradual transition to clean energy.”
With an increasing number of African countries resorting to the exploitation of the continent’s vast yet untapped gas resources to meet energy needs, Yasmine Fouad, Minister of the Environment, Egypt, who was also part of the discussions, added that not only will gas enable the continent to meet its energy needs but also drive climate sustainability progress.
She called for increased cooperation between African governments, public sector parties and civil society to address the continent’s climate investment gap through the development of innovative financial solutions aimed at accelerating renewable energy, transport, gas, industry and waste infrastructure.
Ghada Wally, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna, reiterated that “Women and young people, are among Africa’s best assets and stressed the importance of exploring avenues to tap into this significant asset for the sake of the continent’s sustainable development.”