The island nation of Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean, hosted the 17th edition of the conference over three days under the slogan “Supporting Climate-Smart Development in Africa,” just one month after Egypt hosted COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The attendees also called for a just energy transition, food security and climate-smart solutions for African economies as the way for the continent to address ongoing economic and social challenges.
The three-day conference showcased research findings showing how climate-smart solutions could provide the continent’s countries with tools to navigate the repercussions of the climate change.
The panelists and speakers agreed that tackling climate change is an urgent matter for Africa, despite having contributed the least to global warming (only 3.8 percent of the global greenhouse emissions).
The issue is all the more urgent because developed countries have not met their pledge to provide developing countries with an annual $100 billion in finances for climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. Africa currently receives only about four percent of the global climate funding, according to data presented during the conference.
During COP26, held in Glasgow last year, a coalition of banks, pension funds and asset managers vowed to finance the net zero emissions by 2050 goal. In addition, the philanthropic coalition Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet teamed up with eight multilateral and development-finance institutions with an aim of providing $10 billion to kickstart renewable energy across the globe.
Participants of the AEC 2022 stressed that barriers, including insufficient investment vehicles and market liquidity; economies of scale issues; regulatory disincentives; and a lack of knowledge, track record and expertise on such investments and the risks associated with such barriers must be overcome in order to allow these funds to invest in climate action opportunities in Africa.
In this respect, participants pointed out to the domestic resource mobilisation as a more sustainable alternative to tackle such investment issues, including digitalisation of tax collection mechanisms and enhanced institutional capacity.
The event witnessed the launch of two reports that focus on the sustainable development record in Africa and easing of access among the continent’s countries.
Based on the 2022 Africa Sustainable Development report’s findings, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Hanan Morsy said that the continent need to pay more attention to the looming threat of land degradation that affects 46 percent of Africa’s land and 65 percent of the population and costs the region $9.3 billion per year.
The report also showed that climate change, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have negatively affected the progress the continent has made over the past years in terms of attaining its sustainable development goals.
The AfDB and the African Union Commission launched during the conference the seventh edition of the 2022 Africa Visa Openness Index report that tracks the extent to which African countries are open to visitors from other African states.
According to the report, Egypt ranked the 49 out of 53 African countries in terms of ease of access.
The report also showed that Africans can travel within the continent more easily in 2022 than in 2016.
“For 27 percent of all intra-Africa travel, citizens of African countries can now travel visa-free (up from 20 percent in 2016), while in a further 27 percent of travel scenarios, a visa can be obtained on arrival (up from 25 percent in 2016). The number of intra-Africa travel that still requires a visa ahead of departure was 47 percent of the total in 2022, a marked improvement from 55 percent in 2016,” read the report.