Building back better and greener in Africa requires strong partnerships, high-level champions agree

COVID-19 should not be a reason to renege on global climate commitments. That was one the messages shared by Kevin Kariuki, Vice President for Power, Energy and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, on behalf of Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, at the Africa Regional Resilience Dialogue, titled Building Back Better and Greener: Seizing Transformation Opportunities for a Resilient Future in Africa.

“The on-going COVID-19 pandemic caught everybody unaware and has aggravated Africa’s vulnerabilities, reversing 10 to 20 years of hard-earned development gains. We need to build resilience in the face of this, and future pandemics,” Kariuki said.

The dialogue, led by the African Development Bank, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the Africa Climate Foundation, and the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security/ Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CCAFS/CGIAR), in the framework of the Global Resilience Partnership took place on 15 October 2020.

Kariuki used the opportunity to highlight the Bank’s continued support for global climate agenda.

“COVID-19 should not be a reason to renege on global climate commitments, including allocating $100 billion per annum for developing countries by 2020. Instead, tackling the COVID-19 pandemic should present an opportunity to put forward audacious measures that will enable African countries to bounce back better.

“It is for this reason that the African Development Bank timeously established a $10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility, which is supporting African governments and businesses to mitigate its social and economic impact and support a greener economic recovery.”

Climate change is a threat multiplier, especially in Africa, because it exacerbates existing development challenges that affect our countries today. In the last 5 years, about 180 million people across Africa have been affected by extreme weather events, with losses and damages estimated at over $22 billion.

The high-level session was followed by two panels on building resilience in food and agriculture systems in Africa and transforming food and agriculture systems, by securing high-level commitments for resilience and adaptation in food and agriculture systems to ensure post-COVID-19 recovery that is greener and more inclusive.

Martin Fregene, Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry at the Bank, reiterated the Bank’s commitment to supporting access to finance for small and medium enterprises in the agriculture sector, in order to ensure that they play a key role in achieving Feed Africa, one of the Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities,

Feed Africa entails a comprehensive strategy to end hunger in Africa and combat poverty through a thriving agriculture sector. Fregene also highlighted the Bank’s role in enabling a level playing field for SMEs through both risk sharing and financing facilities to de-risk agricultural value chains, and improving the policy environment (rural infrastructures, insurance, land tenure, etc).

Seyni Nafo, Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), Regional Advisor for Africa & AAI Coordinator, reflected on the role of GCA: “GCA, as the adaptation solutions broker will catalyze action and accelerate implementation through strategic partnership with regional initiatives and the African Development Bank.”

Gonzalo Muñoz and Nigel Topping, the two High-Level Climate Action Champions respectively by appointed by Chile (current Presidency of COP) and the UK (Presidency of COP 26) to strengthen collaboration with governments, parties and other stakeholders to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), presented their visions on advancing climate action and the road to COP26.

“We want to come to COP 26 with tangible clear progress on how we can improve access to funding, particularly for adaptation and resilience,” concluded Topping.

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