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Africa is once again at the centre of global focus, thanks to an initiative aimed at ensuring that its marine economies are climate-resilient.

Ocean economy: A coastline in Africa

In the face of a changing global climate, Africa and its coastal communities that rely on the oceans for their food security and livelihoods are considered particularly vulnerable.

But succour may just be around the corner, going by the commencement this year of a three-year continent-wide scheme that is estimated to gulp a whopping $3.5 billion.

The African Package for Climate-Resilient Ocean Economies (or “the Package”), as the initiative is christened, was revisited during the 12th Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the Convention for Cooperation in the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Atlantic Coast of the West, Central and Southern Africa Region (or simply “Abidjan Convention”) that held March 27-31, 2017 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Three leading multilateral development organisations – the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) – are joining forces to actualise the Package, which consists of technical and financial assistance to support coastal and island states in Africa to address the challenges of climate change as they develop their ocean-based economies and implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

To ensure easy access to international finance, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) are reportedly involved in the implementation of the Package, which as been described as a response to the outcome of last September’s African Ministers Conference on Ocean Economies and Climate Change, held in Mauritius.

Out of the estimated $3.5 billion project amount, the sum of N177 million is earmarked for Nigeria under West Africa, one of the five flagship programmes covering four coastal regions and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of Africa over a project implementation period spanning 2017 to 2020. The other programmes are for North Africa, Central Africa, Indian Ocean and SIDS.

Nigeria’s N177 million is expected to be utilised on projects related to fisheries & aquaculture, coastal protection, hydromet system/early warning and waste management.

Other countries under the West Africa programme include: Benin ($152 million), Cape Verde ($33 million), Cote d’Ivoire ($215 million), The Gambia ($3 million), Ghana ($177 million), Guinea ($105 million), Guinea-Bissau ($30 million), Liberia ($39 million), Mauritania ($144 million), Senegal ($238 million), Sierra Leone ($155 million) and Togo ($238 million).

Countries under the North Africa programme are: Morocco ($154 million; focusing on the nation’s Ceinture Bleue project) and Tunisia ($73 million).

Central Africa programme countries are listed to include: Angola ($116 million), Cameroon ($119 million), Equatorial Guinea ($99 million), Gabon ($107 million) and Sao Tome & Principe ($32 million).

Indian Ocean programme countries are: Comoros ($25 million), Kenya ($130 million), Madagascar ($112 million), Mauritius ($42 million), Mozambique ($113 mmillion), Seychelles ($42 million), Somalia ($28 million), South Africa ($50 million) and Tanzania ($30 million).

SIDS programme nations are: Cape Verde ($104 million), Comoros ($23 million), Seychelles ($116 million), Guinea-Bissau ($68 million), Madagascar ($94 million), Mauritius ($213 million) and Sao Tome & Principe ($114 million).

Officials disclose however that stated amounts are objectives based on preliminary estimates of needs and possibilities, and that World Bank, FAO and AfDB will work with countries, GCF, GEF and other development partners to flesh out the Package and design specific programmes.

Based on vulnerability assessments, the Package will nonetheless provide the framework to make the countries’ development pathways climate-resilient, build resilient coastlines and communities, strengthen food security, create decent employment opportunities and facilitate needed policy reforms for those most affected by climate change.

A source said: “A flagship approach optimises the impact of the interventions, while maximising their multiple benefits. It does so in an integrated and holistic way while supporting commitments from the agencies such as the World Bank’s Climate Business Plan, the AfDB’s Ten Year Strategy (2013-2022) and High Fives, and FAO’s Blue Growth Strategy.

“The assiatance provided by the three agencies in each country is through new investments funded by them as well as from the GCF and the GEF.”

According to World Bank officials, the Package draws together currently fragmented climate change knowledge and activities for ocean-related sectors and focuses on:

  • Understanding vulnerabilities specific to geographical context, economic sectors, including fisheries, and communities directly and indirectly dependent on those sectors.
  • Combining policy, technological and management best practices to improve social, economic and ecological resilience.
  • Identifying low-cost options for resource efficiencies, and supporting resilience and mitigation efforts.
  • Enhancing sustainable use of coastal ecosystems to optimise their carbon sequestration potential.
  • Developing hydromet and ocean observation systems for early warning and disaster readiness.

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