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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Climate change: 600m Africans at risk of severe droughts – AfDB, GCA report

The lives of 600 million people in Africa are at risk because of the growing severity and frequency of droughts, according to a report.

Akinwumi Adesina and Patrick Verkooijen
AfDB’s Adesina Akinwumi (left) and GCA’s Patrick Verkooijen at a joint press conference in Rotterdam. Photo credit: Zuza Nazaruk

The report, titled: “Africa is Doubling Down on Climate Adaptation. Here’s Why it Deserves Support”, was obtained on Monday, September 12, 2022. 

The report was co-authored by the President of the AfDB Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, and Patrick Verkooijen, the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA).

According to the report, with much of the world struggling with crippling spikes in energy and food prices, it is tempting to set aside longer-term challenges such as climate change.

“Already, the lives of 600 million people who rely on rain-fed agriculture are at risk because of the growing severity and frequency of droughts. 

“Vast swaths of the continent will become unlivable unless we act now to protect people and livelihoods from the worst impacts of global warming,” the report stated.

The report also said that Africa only had a tiny window to build resilience against climate change, adding that large parts of Africa would become uninhabitable. 

It also said that on the current trajectory, global warming would cause an annual loss of up to four per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Africa by 2040. 

“Some nations are already spending the equivalent of 2.8 per cent of GDP to adapt to increasingly violent and unpredictable weather.

“This is an unfair burden. Africa, the continent that has contributed the least to global warming, is paying a steep price for the greenhouse gas emissions of the rich world.”

The report, however, noted that African governments were doubling down on climate adaptation. 

“Two years ago, they inaugurated the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme (AAAP).

“This is with the aim of mobilising $25 billion in adaptation investments by 2025. The African Development Bank has put up half of the funds already.”

It said that climate adaptation was Africa’s best chance to bring about a safer, greener and a more prosperous continent. 

The report said that the programme was already investing in projects that made the livelihoods of farming communities more secure. 

“It is improving the accuracy of weather forecasts and making data available to farmers via mobile apps, and providing drought-resistant crop varieties in regions where water is increasingly scarce or rainfall unreliable. 

“In some cities, urban infrastructure is being readied to withstand flash floods, extreme heat and other climate impacts. 

“The AAAP also aims to nurture climate entrepreneurs, particularly those who create career opportunities for young people,” the report said.

It recalled that, at COP26 in Glasgow, the global donor community promised to double finance for adaptation from the current rate of up to a quarter of climate financial flows earmarked for the developing world.

“But yet again, committed funds have fallen short. With only two months to go to the next climate summit, which will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, it is time for donors to honor their pledges.

“Funding climate adaptation is not only the right thing to do. It is also smart.”

Furthermore, the report also said that the GCA calculated that for every dollar invested in climate-smart agriculture, as much as five dollars in benefits accrue. 

According to the GCA, just $15 billion per year invested in climate-smart agriculture can help avert $200 billion in damages from floods, lost production and paying for disaster relief.

The centre further suggested that the international community invest in long-term climate resilience.

By Temitope Ponle

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