African Reserves

How the West owes Africa $ 100 billion for climate recovery, by Chukwumerije Okereke


This week, as around 100 world leaders gather to attend the 76e session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 76), a call to rich countries to urgently step up their aid to help Africa meet the twin challenges of the climate catastrophe and the impact of the COVID pandemic -19 is required. With the widely successful vaccination campaign in most rich countries and the recent event in Afghanistan, there is a tendency for the need to help Africa cope with the impact of COVID-19 and its embarking on a path of a green and climate-resilient economic recovery could be relegated to the agenda of world leaders.

It is only recently, due to unprecedented flooding in Western countries, including Spain, Germany and the United States of America, that rich countries are beginning to realize the devastating impact of change. climate change and the need to take urgent action to deal with induced climate change. loss and damage in their territory. However, Africa, small island states and many poor countries around the world have long lived with the crippling impact of climate change and much of this impact has not been fully appreciated by rich countries, who are mainly responsible for climate change.

Dangerously epic proportions

Indeed, the African context of climate change had assumed dangerously epic proportions. Nigeria, for example, has experienced large-scale and unprecedented flooding over the past five years. The The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reports that in September 2020 alone, torrential rains, river floods and flash floods affected 192,594 people in 22 states in Nigeria (including 826 injured, 155 deaths and 24,134 displacements). Little, if any, was reported by international news agencies.

It is estimated that 27 to 53 million people in Nigeria may have to relocate with an increase (0.5 m) in sea level. Rising sea levels threaten other low lying countries in Africa, research suggesting that cities like Abidjan, Cape Town and Dar es Salaam will be totally submerged by sea level rise (1.0m). At the same time, the oil and diamond infrastructure of African coastal countries, worth several billion dollars, is highly sensitive to sea level rise and coastal erosion.

Climate change is also causing a decrease in the productivity of many staple food crops in Africa. About 86 percent of Africa’s agriculture is rainfed, implying that even moderate variations in rainfall, temperature and rainfall patterns could have an immediate impact on agricultural production. Analysts determine that climate change will reduce crop productivity by up to 20 percent, 30 percent and, in some cases, 50 percent over the next 20 or 30 years. Again, the anticipated loss amounts to billions of dollars and the situation is sure to exacerbate food insecurity and other dimensions of insecurity in Africa.

According to recent preliminary estimates, the full economic impact of the climate impact, which has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, could cost Africa $ 200 billion per year by 2070. The actual figure could well being well beyond. For example, a study by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), now merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), indicated that climate change alone could cost Nigeria $ 460 billion in dollars. ‘by 2050.

Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic

The impact of climate change in Africa has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-19 case fatality rates have not been as high as originally feared when the pandemic broke out in early 2020, the social and economic impact of COVID-19 in Africa has been devastating and potentially long lasting. African economies were growing around 3% of GDP before COVID-19, but are now expected to experience a 2-8% recession due to the pandemic. The African Development Bank reports that the continent’s economy will contract between $ 173.1 billion and $ 236.7 billion in 2020/2021. The region is also expected to experience inflation of up to 5%, alongside a dramatic drop in remittances and foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2021 and beyond. The same AfDB sources indicate that up to 30 million jobs could be lost and that between 28 and 49 million people could fall into extreme poverty on the continent.

Climate change and COVID-19 have indeed put Africa in the eye of the storm and many governments on the continent have no idea how to recover from the worst recession that has hit them in over a decade. ‘a half-century. Many African countries have been pushed to the limit in terms of financial and socio-economic resilience. The debt profile of many of these countries has increased dramatically and, in many cases, to levels that are widely considered unsustainable. Seen in this light, we can see that climate change and COVID-19 have put future generations of Africa in debt to rich countries.

Rich countries must take responsibility

African citizens and governments are harmed by being forced to bear the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 and climate change, neither of which they caused. In less than three days, the average American citizen emits as much carbon as an average citizen of Chad or the Republic of Niger in a year. This is the enormous asymmetry in the West’s culpability for climate change. Yet the West has grown accustomed to offering warm words and promises, while Africa is strangled by climate change. At the same time, the global transition to a green economy could also worsen Africa’s situation, with millions of job losses and trillions of dollars in oil and gas reserves that will have to be left behind. soil to meet global carbon needs. emission reductions.

Considering the role of rich countries in imposing the risk of climate change and COVID-19 pandemic on Africa, it can be argued that 50% of the projected $ 200 billion cost of climate change for Africa is expected to be supported by the rich countries. This would imply that rich countries owe Africa at least $ 100 billion for climate-related loss and damage and several billion to help jump-start recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on November 29, 1967, Africa’s foremost diplomat, Avird Pardo helped lay the foundations for international cooperation and the management of the global sea today, when in his landmark address to the United Nations General Assembly, he urged delegates to consider ocean resources beyond national jurisdictions as “the common heritage of humanity”. This week Africa needs another ‘Avird Pardo moment’ at the UNGA meeting. The United Nations General Assembly should rise to reaffirm that climate change is a common concern of humanity and that Africa deserves, not handouts, but generous compensation and significant investments to help it do. faced with the impact of climate change imposed on it by rich countries. At the same time, the UN should commit to the voices of those disproportionately suffering from the impact of climate change will not be marginalized in the upcoming UN COP26 climate talks in November, as there are already strong indications that unequal access vaccines, rising travel and accommodation costs, as well as high rates of COVID-19 infection could limit the participation of African countries, among others, in global climate talks on the 26the Conference of the Parties.

Africa is already showing climate ambition

Of course, Africa does not sit back and wait for the rest of the world to bail it out. Across the continent, there are many signs that African governments are ready to take strong action on climate change. Nigeria recently submitted a revised version of Nationally Determined Contributions that pledges a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Several other countries such as The Gambia, Congo, Malawi, Namibia and Liberia have also submitted revised NDCs. Nigeria has raised over $ 60 million in green bonds; the country has also strengthened its emissions targets for 2030 with a specific focus on reducing emissions from the waste sectors and increasing conditional contributions. Malawi and South Africa have developed a fund to finance green growth projects, while Rwanda has created its $ 11 billion ten-year climate plan, among others.

However, Africa has received very limited financial support for its climate recovery efforts beyond warm words, especially when asked to sacrifice its development aspirations to help achieve global recovery goals. carbon. A new multi-billion green deal for Africa is needed to encourage Africa to leave its oil in the ground and embrace green agriculture, renewables and green transport, all of which can deliver benefits. strong economic benefits to the continent. There have been far too many warm words, the UNGA should mark a key moment for action with substantial commitments made by rich countries to deliver investments that will foster a green and climate resilient recovery for Africa.

Chukwumerije Okereke is Director of the Center for Climate Change and Development at Federal University Alex Ekwueme, Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria; Email: [email protected]

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