(Agence Ecofin) – African experts met from March 3 to 5 in Kigali, Rwanda, to discuss the climate impact on the continent. This was part of the eighth session of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD-8).
During their session, the experts expressed the need for increased funding to help the continent adapt to climate change and achieve carbon neutrality. Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ECA, called on the international community to deliver on its commitments “including on the means of implementation and global consensus on carbon pricing, to reward Africa as a custodian of global climate goods, such as the carbon stored in the Congo Basin forest and its peatlands.
Jean-Paul Adam, another ECA expert, believes that special attention should be given to small island states. “It is often difficult for low-income countries to access resources. They have to borrow at high cost and accept frameworks that are not necessarily suited to their needs. There is hardly any country in the world so vulnerable to climate change than small island states,” he noted.
Africa is presented as the region of the world which will be the most vulnerable, but also the most unjustly affected by the consequences of global warming. Although the continent contributes only 4% of greenhouse gas emissions (mainly CO2) and absorbs a significant portion of the carbon dioxide emitted in nature through its rainforest.
Africa is also a reservoir of resources that will enable a transition to greener energy. It has deposits of liquefied natural gas which is considered the transition energy resource to net zero. The continent’s subsoil is rich in minerals such as lithium or cobalt, which are associated with the development of digital equipment, essential for non-polluting economies. Finally, Africa has one of the largest solar exposures in the world, as well as points of exploitation of hydrogen and wind energy.
However, despite this potential, coupled with a young population and a common market under construction, the continent is struggling to mobilize the resources necessary to become the leader in renewable energies. Experts believe that it must build a productive system that will allow it to no longer depend on the outside world. Responding to climate change becomes a matter of survival. If Africa is not able to act effectively in this direction, its economy will continue to lose out in terms of value creation. On the other hand, there are opportunities for economic gains.
According to the Africa Sustainable Development Report 2020, implementing policies that work for the Sustainable Development Goals could create a $12 trillion market and create over 380 million jobs by 2030. But for For this, resources must be mobilized.