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Report: Africa Must Adapt to Climate Change Effects


FILE - Women walk on farmlands that were destroyed by high salt content due to rising sea levels in Saloum Delta, Diamniadio Island in Senegal.

The Global Center on Adaptation says climate change will push 120 million people into extreme poverty by 2030, and a third of them will be Africans if nothing is done to mitigate its effects. The findings are in the center’s report on Africa, released Tuesday.

Speaking in Nairobi at the release of a report looking at present-day and future climate change risks in Africa, the head of the Global Center on Adaptation, Patrick Verkooijen, says the climate crisis may create millions of poor people on the continent.

“In fact, worldwide climate change, if unchecked, will push 122 million new people into extreme poverty by 2030, of these in sub-Saharan Africa alone, 43 million new poor people pushed into poverty by climate change, and even if development is rapid and inclusive up to 12 million people in Africa could be pushed into poverty in this time due to climate change alone," said Verkooijen.

The Netherlands-based organization that works on climate adaptation solutions around the globe said Africa’s failure to adapt to the recurrent climate shocks will also increase the cost of borrowing, reducing investment opportunities for its people.

According to the Africa Development Bank (AFDB), the continent needs $7- $15 billion a year to create adaptation programs.

Akinwumi Adesina, the Africa Development Bank president, says it is making $25 billion available to scale up climate change adaptation actions and drive investment in green growth.

"We will scale up access to climate-smart digital technologies and associated data-driven agricultural and financial services to at least 30 million farmers in Africa," said Adesina. "Infrastructure, we will ensure that the climate risk and resilience are integrated into at least 50 percent of the total value of new infrastructure investment in Africa across all infrastructure sectors.”

The AFDB said it will invest $8 billion to create sustainable jobs for Africa’s youth and innovative financial initiatives that help increase financial flows for adaptation and resilience.

Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, addressing the gathering online, said his government is ready to handle the adverse effect of climate change.

"To implement our nationally determined contributions, we plan to invest approximately $8 billion over the next ten years," said Kenyatta. "This is just 10 percent of the total investment needed of the NDC’s and we, therefore, need support from our international partners.”

Verkooijen says, apart from the effort to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, investing in communication tools, water and health can help Africa.

"A dollar invested in weather and climate information services gives between $4 and $25 in benefits," said Verkooijen. "A dollar invested in resilient water and sanitation not only saves lives it creates between $2 and $12 in benefits. African countries that invest a dollar in climate-smart crops can see between $2 and $14 in benefits. Adaptation makes economic sense.”

High-level officials and heads of state from around the world are scheduled to meet in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday for the COP26 climate summit, and to accelerate action toward the goals of the 2019 Paris Agreement meant to limit global warming.

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