By Kembet Bolton and Kingsley Okeke

As the 2-day Leaders Summit on Climate convened by US President Joe Biden comes to end, the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina has called for urgent help for Africa to mitigate the challenges posed by climate change on the continent, despite being the least emitter.

Dr Adesina made this call while participating in a panel session on how combined public and private finance can be galvanized to accelerate the move to a net-zero economy.

The AfDB President who was one of the selected global leaders invited by the US President to join this inaugural Climate summit, maintained that, Climate Change is a threat to Africa. In his words, “The continent loses 7-15 billion dollars per year to climate change, and this will rise to 50 billion dollars per year by 2040 according to the IMF. Africa, the least emitter, suffers the worst of the impacts of climate change including droughts, floods, locust and pest invasions.”     

Continuing, the AfDB President, “Africa is not at net-zero, Africa is at ground zero. We must, therefore, give Africa a lift to get a chance of adapting to what it did not cause.”

While sharing the Bank’s support for Climate Action in the continent, Dr Adesina averred that “our share of financing devoted to climate rose from just a mere 9% in 2016 to 35% in 2019 and we will reach 40% in 2021, this year. We are also setting the pace… African Development Bank is the only multilateral development bank to meet and exceed the 50% parity for climate adaptation and resilience. Indeed we devoted 50% of our climate finance to climate adaptation and resilience in 2018 and last year we increased that to a record 63%.”

Dr. Adesina added that the bank is “climate-proofing Africa as it has targeted 40 million farmers with climate-smart agricultural practices. The AFDB is also speeding up Africa’s energy transition to renewable energy and helps support the largest wind power plant in Africa, situated in Kenya. The bank has also embarked on what it tagged desert to power, a 20-billion-dollar investment that would provide opportunities to turn the sahel into the world’s largest solar zone and provide electricity for 250 million people.

“We are securing the future of the Sahel. We have pledged 6.5 billion dollars towards building the great green wall in the Sahel to protect against desertification. We are deploying our Africa disaster risk facility to help countries to pay for insurance premiums against catastrophic climate events. We are also building strategic partnerships in particular with the Global Centre for Adaptation. And together we have created and launched the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme, he said.”

Dr Adesina also shared the long-term strategy of the Bank on Climate Action. Hear him, “Our goal is to mobilize 25 billion dollars for the programme exclusively for scaling up actions on climate adaptation. Just three weeks ago, thirty African heads of states, global leaders including the UN secretary-general, Guterres, joined forces to back this African Adaptation Acceleration Programme.”

While reinforcing Africa’s determination to grow green, Dr. Adesina called for global support, especially financially for Africa to move towards this goal. In his words “Africa is determined to speed up green growth, what is needed now is green paper(money) to back this green growth. It is time developed countries made their promise of 100 billion dollars per year for climate finance for developing countries. Together, we must secure the future and make hope come alive for the present. Africa’s Adaptation Acceleration Programme is Africa’s plan’’.

A White House Press Release dated; 26th March 2021 had announced President Biden’s plan to host selected global leaders to the Leaders’ Summit on Climate.

According to the statement, “the Leaders’ Summit on Climate will underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action.  It will be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.”

The summit is part of the Biden-led administration’s strategy of restating the United States’ commitment to climate action.

In another development, Dr Adesina also reiterated his call for a green and climate-resilient recovery for Africa as the continent charts a recovery pathway out of the Covid 19 pandemic. He made the call during the EU Africa Green Investment Forum on 23 April 2021, stating emphatically that Africa has become a market that cannot be ignored. He added that recovery must boost greener investments and create a bigger space for the private sector to help governments build back stronger and better.