Africa deserves the highest priority attention at the United Nations climate conference, COP 27 this November, panelists discuss African Development Bank African Economic Outlook 2022 at an event organized by the Atlantic Council, said on Wednesday.
A team from the African Development Bank Group, led by Acting Chief Economist and Vice President Kevin Urama, is in Washington, DC to present the African Economic Outlook 2022, the Bank’s flagship publication, to international leaders and other target organizations. Under the theme, Supporting climate resilience and a just energy transition in Africathis year’s report highlights climate change as a growing threat to lives and livelihoods in Africa.
In a video message during one of the sessions, Bezos Earth Fund President and CEO Andrew Steer called on African and world leaders to think bolder and work more creatively together in preparation for COP 27 in Egypt.
Steer, a former World Bank Special Envoy on Climate Change, believes that COP 27 provides an incredible opportunity for the world to think about Africa. “We need to make it the African COP. So what the African Development Bank and the Atlantic Council are trying to do to raise awareness is extremely important.”
He described the African economic outlook for 2022 as an “excellent report”. “It perfectly describes this sobering time in particular for Africa, but really for the world – a slowdown in the global economy, a perfect storm of rising food and energy prices, interest rates and a shocking increase in the impact of climate change and environmental vulnerability at a time when when international resources are not what they should be.’
In a presentation of the report, Acting Chief Economist Uram called for policy coordination and a more holistic approach to combating climate change.
“We are losing between 5% and 15% of GDP growth per capita in Africa due to climate change, and this is in addition to the other problems that climate change is causing on the continent,” Urama said. “Among these difficulties lie opportunities for innovation. Let’s think big, act big and save the planet.”
“As we prepare for COP 27, meeting the $100 billion annual climate commitment in 2009 that high-income countries pledged to developing countries will help restore confidence that we are serious about climate change , even if it’s not enough.”
US Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa Tyler Beckelman said the African economic outlook “clearly and convincingly reflects the very real and immediate challenges to realizing a just energy transition in Africa.”
“Make no mistake, the crisis is here,” Beckelman warned. “Four failed rainy seasons in the Horn of Africa – with a fifth likely to occur this summer – are a direct result of a warming climate and, unfortunately, this may become the norm.”
He said the United States will ensure that its African partners have the capacity and resources to build a foundation for a sustainable and low-carbon economy that provides sufficient energy for growth.
He added: “While the challenges are enormous, we see many reasons for optimism. Continued investment in adaptation and mitigation through renewable energy and climate-smart land use will help pave the way for African countries to develop innovative ways to build a fairer and more equal future for people across the continent.”
Rama Yadeh, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, noted that it has become more important to look at Africa and climate change.
The event featured a panel discussion on the report featuring Anthony Simpasa, Acting Head of Macroeconomic Policy, Debt Sustainability and Forecasting at the African Development Bank; Ayan Adam, Senior Director and CEO of AFC Capital Partners at the African Finance Corporation; Jeffrey Krilla, Vice President of Global Public Policy and Public Affairs, Kosmos Energy; and Queen Quinn, founding partner of Kupanda Capital.
The Africa Economic Outlook 2022 Report proposes evidence-based policy options to foster inclusive growth by enhancing climate resilience and a just energy transition in Africa.
The event provided an opportunity for stakeholders in Washington, DC to assess the main findings of the report, as well as to discuss priorities and actionable recommendations in preparation for and ahead of COP27.