Amid its devastating effects on the global economy, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has projected that climate change will cost Nigeria and other African nations between $45 billion and $50 billion per annum by 2040.
Consequently, AfDB, a multilateral development finance institution headquartered in Cote d’Ivoire, unveiled the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa “to speed up the development of green infrastructure in Africa.”
The President of AfDB, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina released the projection in a speech he delivered on Friday at the 2022 African Economic Conference (AEC) currently holding in Balaclava, Mauritius between December 9 and 11.
AEC, a three-day conference scheduled to end today, was jointly organised by AfDB, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The conference is planned with the theme, “Supporting Climate-Smart Development in Africa” at a time when the continent’s challenge of climate change has been aggravated by the war in Ukraine and Covid-19.
Speaking at the conference Friday, Adesina underscored the urgency of Africa adapting “to climate change. Africa is suffering from the devastating effects of climate change, from droughts, floods, irregular rainfall, locusts, and armyworms.”
Adesina, represented by Acting Chief Economist and Vice-President, Prof. Kevin Urama, said: “Supporting climate-smart, environmentally friendly development is one step in the right direction.”
He said: “Estimates show that Africa suffers $7-15 billion per year in GDP losses to climate change, which are projected to rise to $45-50 billion per year by 2040.
“Supporting climate-smart development in Africa is extremely pertinent. Climate change is a looming threat to Africa. Africa is the most vulnerable region to climate disasters.”
He stressed how the rise in petroleum prices caused by the war in Ukraine should quicken Africa’s motivation to shift away from fossil fuels and become self-sufficient in electricity production.
“In order to face the challenges of climate change more effectively, Africa needs the support and assistance of development partners,” the prime minister explained.
Also at the conference, the Deputy Executive Secretary of UNECA, Hanan Morsy called for investment in climate-smart development for Africa to achieve economic transformation amidst economic and environmental challenges.
According to Morsy, climate-smart development in Africa is the only development model that will unleash the continent’s potential to achieve its development aspirations.
At the opening of the conference, Morsy said Africa risked reversing progress towards some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
She noted that African countries were the most vulnerable to climate change while they contributed the least to global greenhouse gas emissions.
She said: “Africa needs to close huge development gaps by investing substantially in climate-vulnerable key sectors such as energy, agriculture, transport, water and cities.
“Research shows that the annual economic costs of extreme weather events in Africa are projected at between US$45–50 billion by 2040.
“Besides, the impact of climate change will cost up to 70 percent of Africa’s annual gross domestic product on average by 2100. Challenges have put Africa in a difficult development position.
“Africa needs trillions of dollars to close huge development gaps,” Ms. Morsy noted, pointing that Africa, for example, needs investments of up US$170 billion per year for infrastructure development.
“Besides, nationally determined contributions to climate action (NDCs) submitted by African countries would require close to US$ 3 trillion to implement.
“Africa countries need support to translate their NDCs into bankable investment plans that can attract financing from the private sector,” she said.
The deputy executive secretary noted that countries should address the policy and regulatory barriers to enable investments in renewables at the country level.
In her remarks, Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, Ahunna Eziakonwa, said Africa’s path to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must be climate smart.
Eziakonwa said: “It is important to emphasise that Africa’s path to attaining the SDGs must be climate-smart. Protecting the planet cannot be an option. It is an urgent priority.
“While COP27 in Egypt did not achieve the drastic reduction in emissions that the world needs, it did see the establishment of funding arrangements for loss and damage.
“Climate-smart development is important for Africa to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. This comes at a time developing countries were strangled by soaring debt levels that they could not respond to the multiple crises of surging food and energy prices, climate change and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Africa’s path to attaining the SDGs must be climate-smart,” Ms. Eziakonwa said, noting that protecting the planet was an urgent priority.
She said the establishment of funding arrangements for loss and damage at COP27, a just transition from fossil fuels, climate-smart agriculture, and financing would be key drivers of climate-smart development across Africa.
Officially opening the Conference, Mauritius Prime Minister, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, warned that climate change is a threat to Africa’s socio-economic development with Small Islands Developing States particularly affected.
He cited expected increased climate change impacts witnessed in cyclones, dry spells and floods adversely affecting people’s lives, livelihoods and national economies.
“Climate finance is indispensable for small island developing states like Mauritius,” Jugnauth said, explaining that Mauritius was spending two percent of its GDP on climate-related policies.