AfDB Vice President Kevin Urama during Egypt-ICF 2022 concluded on 9 September
Ahram Online spoke to Urama on the sidelines of Egypt International Cooperation Forum (Egypt-ICF 2022), which kicked off its second edition on Wednesday at the New Administrative Capital.
According to Urama, the continent needs up to $145.5 billion per year through 2030 for climate change efforts, asserting that given the limited fiscal capacity of most African countries, there needs to be substantial concrete policy actions to close the gap.
“Africa’s historical and current carbon emission share is below three percent of global emissions, but the burden of climate change on economies and livelihoods across the continent is disproportionately high with about five to 15 percent of GDP per capita growth lost annually between 1986 and 2015 – a climate injustice. Africa is also the least climate-resilient region in the world, with high vulnerability to climate change and a low readiness for its impacts. Climate change is already threatening to derail development gains and impose further economic costs and social disruption, with adaptation alone projected to cost the continent at least $50 billion annually by 2050,” Urama explained.
In this respect, Urama asserted that the upcoming COP27, scheduled to be held in November in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh, offers a great opportunity to shed a light on the severe impacts of climate change on the continent and to renew the call for a real global commitment to Africa.
“Africa’s low access to modern energy is undermining its development goals and ability to build climate resilience. Moves toward low-carbon sources of energy to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are of paramount importance, but they need to be compatible with achieving the continent’s development aspirations and meeting the unmet energy needs of some 600 million Africans,” Urama told Ahram Online..
At 46 percent in 2020, the share of fossil-based energy sources in Africa’s energy mix is relatively modest compared to the share in other global regions, Urama further noted.
The VP also highlighted that Africa has increased its share of renewable energy technologies, along with natural gas – which could serve as the transition fuel in countries that have access to it – which will allow them to gradually reduce coal in their energy mix.
“Although low-carbon transitions in Africa vary by country, they could be transformational. These variations reflect differing ecological zones, climates, settlement patterns and agriculture practices, economic structures, resource bases and governance systems. Africa is richly endowed in natural resources, including energy and mineral resources, such as lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel, copper and rare earth minerals – all of which are new market opportunities for the green transition. With Africa’s limited lock-in to fossil-based energy technologies, these opportunities could help the continent build a climate-resilient and integrated sustainable energy sector,” Urama elaborated.
Urama also affirmed that policies to achieve climate resilience and a just energy transition in Africa should be inclusive, “leaving no one behind,” which requires close consideration of the equity implications and challenges associated with prevailing energy poverty, low energy consumption and energy needs for economic growth and transformation
“Africa needs to maintain a balanced energy mix to manage short-term energy security and build long-term trajectories that reconcile achieving low greenhouse gas emissions with meeting key objectives for the well-being of its population,” Urama stressed to Ahram Online.
“Like COVID-19, climate change is a global commons problem that requires collective action to engender sustainable development. Mobilizing more resources for the most vulnerable countries, many of which are in Africa, is an important step in addressing the climate crisis. The forthcoming COP-27, ‘Africa’s COP,’ taking place in Egypt, can be a game changer in rallying the global community towards this existential challenge. The world therefore needs to turn all climate commitments and ambitions into concrete climate financing actions for Africa,” Urama concluded.