As climate change and variability significantly impact Sub-Saharan Africa’s development agenda, a new World Bank plan outlines actions required to increase climate resilience and low-carbon development in an effort to maintain current and protect future growth and poverty reduction goals.
Noting that climate drives most of the shocks that keep or bring African households into poverty, Accelerating Climate-Resilient and Low-Carbon Development: The Africa Climate Business Plan aims to both bring attention to and accelerate resource mobilization for priority climate-resilient and low-carbon initiatives in the region.
“The consequences of climate change for Africa are devastating and threaten to push millions of people into extreme poverty by 2030, largely due to lower crop yields and higher food prices, and negative health impacts” says Benoit Bosquet, World Bank Practice Manager in the Environment & Natural Resources Global Practice. “In light of the huge financing gap and the need for urgent action, the World Bank prepared the Africa Climate Business Plan as an important step in mobilizing climate finance to fast-track Africa’s climate adaptation needs in the context of development priorities.”
According to the plan, climate-related factors will make harder for African countries to tackle extreme poverty in the future for three reasons:
- Warming is unavoidable as a result of past emissions of greenhouse gases, which will cause the loss of cropland, a decline in crop production, worsening undernourishment, higher drought risks and a decline in fish catches
- Further warming may materialize, which will have disastrous consequences for the region in the form of heat extremes, increased risk of severe drought, crop failures every two years, a 20% reduction in major food crop yields, and, by the end of the century, up to 18 million people affected by floods every year
- Considerable uncertainty on what the warming impact will be on local weather patterns and hydrological cycles, which pose formidable challenges for development planning, and for the design of projects related to water management such as irrigation and hydropower, and more generally climate-sensitive infrastructure such as roads or bridges
To tackle the climate challenge in collaboration with African governments and a variety of regional and international partners, the plan focuses on increasing adaptation through a dozen priority areas grouped into three clusters;
- Strengthening resilience, which includes initiatives aimed at boosting the continent’s natural capital (landscapes, forests and oceans), physical capital (cities and transport infrastructure), and human and social capital, including improving social protection for the more vulnerable against climate shocks and addressing the climate-related drivers of migration
- Powering resilience, which includes opportunities to increase low-carbon energy sources as societies with inadequate energy sources are more vulnerable to climate shocks, and
- Enabling resilience by providing essential data, information and decision-making tools for promoting climate-resilient development across sectors through strengthening hydro-met systems at the regional and country level, and through building the capacity to plan and design climate-resilient investments.
Current levels of funding for adaptation are about $3 billion per year, which is insufficient to finance current needs, and is not increasing at the necessary rate to meet future needs. The plan estimates that the near to medium term implementation will cost about $16.1 billion to be raised by 2020, $5.7 billion of which is expected to come from the International Development Association (IDA), and the rest from a variety of sources, including bilateral and multilateral sources, dedicated climate finance sources, and the private sector. The plan also notes that further results could be achieved by 2025 at a cost of about $21 billion.