UK pledged $230 million, the Netherlands $110 million, AfDB $12.5 billion, Germany to increase contribution to $6 billion by 2025
By Kingsley Ighobor
When Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was asked to make remarks at an event on Africa at the ongoing COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, she began by asking the jampacked audience to give a round of applause to Egypt and to Africa.
And then, holding her hands aloft to form a heart symbol, Ms. Georgieva declared: “We pledge our heart to Africa.”
She was speaking at the Accelerating Adaptation in Africa event where the lovefest continued with each statement by the world leaders or their representatives, including one by the British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, who said he needed to make a public confession.
“My mother was from Sierra Leone,” he announced. “Please forgive me if I maintain a personal interest in Africa.” He said his country was just as keen on Africa’s development.
The event was not only about speeches; millions of dollars were pledged in support of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) – an Africa-led response initiative seeking to reduce climate change vulnerabilities through effective adaptation.
The UK pledged £200 (about $230 million) and is to triple its overall climate adaptation funding from £500 million to £1.5 billion by 2025.
The Netherlands will provide AAAP with $110 million.
Germany will increase its climate contribution to $6 billion a year by 2025. Nearly half the funding will be for adaptation, including in Africa.
Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal (also African Union Chair), Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, William Ruto of Kenya, Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar, Hassan Sheikh Mohamed of Somalia, were at the event.
So were Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany and Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, among others.
The backdrop is Africa’s precarious climate change situation, worsened by the effects of the Ukraine conflict and COVID-19 pandemic.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) president, Akinwumi Adesina, reiterated the need for effective adaptation in Africa. Adequate financing for related projects was the recurring theme during the event.
Ms. Georgieva said “Without support, Africa will not reach its potential. Each one of us must stand up and be counted.”
Mr. Cleverly of the UK maintained: “We must deliver if Africa is to overcome climate change and fulfill its limitless potential.”
For Mr. Scholz, there was some urgency: He said “Time is running out” for industrialised countries to meet their climate finance commitment of $100 billion by 2025, adding that Africa was contributing only marginally to emissions.
The African leaders were unified in their call for financial support. Currently, lamented President Sall, many African countries borrow to finance adaptation projects, citing Senegal’s electric train and bus projects costing $1.4 billion.
President Akufo-Addo (Ghana), as well as President Ruto (Kenya) said Africa needed rapid injection of adaptation financing.
It must be “adequate, timely and accessible in order to be effective,” said Mr. Ruto.
Assisting Africa to boost adaptation is a “moral imperative,” Mr. Adesina maintained.
It was a view shared by Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Centre on Adaptation, an international organization working to broker solutions to support for adaptation.
In addition to the many devastating climate change consequences, the AfDB boss lamented that some five million Africans were displaced.
“Africa is under siege; Africa cannot keep quiet. We are seeking a partnership,” said Mr. Adesina. He added: “World leaders need to hear our voices. Megawatts of words must translate into megawatts of financing for Africa.”
Africa’s financing requirements
While Africa needs $33 billion annually for adaptation, it currently receives about $6 billion, prompting African leaders to endorse the AAAP.
Under the AAAP’s auspices, the AfDB and the GCA hope to mobilise $25 billion to support interventions in food security, resilient infrastructure, youth entrepreneurship and job creation and innovative climate adaptation finance.
Mr. Adesina announced that the AfDB would provide $12.5 billion and called on Africa’s partners to assist with the remainder of $12.5 billion.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres backed Africa’s adaptation ambition, saying that investing in adaptation in Africa would benefit the rest of the world.
Mr. Guterres echoed his well-received COP27 opening remarks wherein he asked governments to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies and the money used to support “people struggling with rising food and energy prices and to countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis.”