By Michael Chawe
The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has recently announced a $549m (Shs1.8 trillion) plan to support countries deal with drought and other effects of climate change on the continent.
Speaking during the official opening of the bank’s annual meeting being held in Lusaka, Zambia, AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina said climate change was “real and needed to be dealt with to improve the lives of people”.
The bank says it will triple to U.S. $5b (Shs17 trillion) in funds toward mitigating the effects of climate change in Africa by 2020.
Some $12b (Shs406 trillion) allocation was announced to support the energy sector in Africa in the next five years.
Among the five priorities set by the AfDB to improve people’s lives are lighting up Africa, feeding Africa and promoting regional integration, Dr Adesina said.
The AfDB president stressed the need for Africa to develop value chains. Dr Adesina also announced the bank’s commitment to ending poverty and malnutrition through implementing its Feed Africa initiative.
Zambian president Edgar Lungu said the AfDB meetings, which opened on Tuesday, must chart Africa’s future beyond this year, adding that African experts should restore the continent’s place in global trade.
He expressed fear that the energy deficit, which has affected the entire continent, threatened to reverse the economic gains recorded in the last 10 years, saying the challenge must be addressed through investment in alternative energy sources.
Mr Lungu also said: “AfDB should assist countries address challenges of energy and food insecurity.”
On his part, Chadian president Idriss Deby said Africa was overwhelmed with problems of food insecurity, global warming and insecurity caused by terrorism, which hindered the continent’s economic progress.