A report released during the annual U.N. conference of African ministers of finance and economic planning in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday shows that African countries now spend between 2% and 9% of their budgets to respond to extreme weather event such as cyclones, floods, and drought.
“Climate change is having a devastating impact on Africa’s economies, and the situation is expected to worsen in the coming years,” Antonio Pedro, the acting executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa told reporters.
The U.N. report said climate change, the war in Ukraine and a global economic slowdown have been identified as key factors that have led to Africa’s economic decline from a growth of 4.6% in 2021 to 3.6% in 2022.
The meeting comes as parts of the continent are currently experiencing weather extremes such as the cyclone in Malawi and Mozambique that has hitherto claimed more than 270 lives, displaced over 100,000 people and destroyed infrastructure and property, and a debilitating drought in the east and Horn of Africa that has put the region on the throes of a famine.
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Some estimates say Africa will need investments of over $3 trillion by 2030 to adequately adapt to climate change and curb emissions even though the continent contributes less than 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions despite being home to 17% of the world’s population and limited capabilities could hamper many nations efforts to deal with the impacts of climate change.
“Climate change has tremendous impacts in African economies and climate action is impossible without climate finance. “Leveraging climate finance can fight poverty and inequality in Africa,” said Ethiopia’s planning minister, Nemera Gebeyehu Mamo.
A pledge by rich nations to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance has not yet been fully met and Pedro wants African countries to take matters into their own hands by raising funds through developing carbon credits, where companies and governments pay into reforestation schemes to offset their emissions.
“If we take advantage of our rainforests and develop our carbon markets, we could unleash an estimated $82 billion a year in value,” Pedro said, adding it could create millions of jobs across the continent.
Story was adapted from AP.