Climate resilience key to economic recovery in Africa

The Fifth African Climate Resilience Infrastructure Summit (ACRIS 5), held virtually last week, highlighted that integration of climate resilience in design and implementation of agribusiness, hydropower, transport corridors, urbanisation and vulnerable ecosystems was critical for economic recovery, sustainable development and shared prosperity.

Addressing the summit, Mr Jean-Paul Adam – director of Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) – noted that increased and sustained investments in agriculture, energy, water systems, smart cities, infrastructure and resilient nature-based ecosystems would propel Africa’s socio-economic growth and fast-track poverty alleviation.

“Investments in these sectors are critical for Africa trade agenda through the African Continental Free Trade Area, for regional integration and for a smart and climate neutral industrialisation agenda,” Mr Adam said.

“Africa presents unique challenges, but also unique opportunities for climate resilience. The challenge lies in ensuring that investments needed for growth and development gaps can happen and do so fast enough to leave no one behind. We need the resources upfront. The opportunity lies in building a resilient Africa starting from a very low base in ways that are climate resilient and inclusive.”

The summit made a call for harnessing of more investments to contain widespread inequalities by integrating climate resilience into national economic plans.

To do so, countries must step up investments in hydro-meteorological institutions to support the production and uptake of climate information services as critical inputs for resilience planning. African countries must also be supported with the technical tools and human capacity to design and plan investments that can perform and deliver returns under changing climate.

The Africa Climate Resilient Investment Facility (AFRI-RES) is designed for this purpose.

ACRIS has been taking place for the last six years. It is a summit arising from AFRI-RES, which is a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, ECA, the African Development Bank and the World Bank with support from the Nordic Development Fund.

AU Commissioner for Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, Ms Josefa Sacko, noted that Africa is fast tracking and modernising its climate monitoring, forecasting and prediction capabilities which are critical to generate accurate climate information to inform appropriate resilience interventions in agriculture, food security, disaster risk reduction, energy and health services.

Mrs Karin Isaksson, MD of the Nordic Development Fund, acknowledged the crucial role undertaken by the Africa Climate Resilient Investment Facility to strengthen capacity of river basin authorities, regional power pools and economic communities to plan, design, and implement infrastructure investments that are robust to climate variability and change.

“The pandemic has brought massive challenges and losses in terms of human lives and economic growth and also put a spot-light on the importance of building resilient societies’ and to build back better.”The summit was themed “Embedding and financing climate resilience towards Africa’s green recovery”.

This article was originally shared by The Southern Times.