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Africa generates less than 3% of all greenhouse gas emissions, but experts say it is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Wealthy nations say they’ll do more to help African nations cope with climate shocks.

Wealthy nations said they would spend about $25 billion (€25 billion) by 2025 to boost Africa’s efforts to adapt to climate change, according to officials at a climate summit in Rotterdam, Netherlands, held Monday.

The summit was the first ever to bring together leaders from across many governments and institutions, like the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, to discuss climate adaption techniques for Africa.

The amount pledged was billed as the largest ever climate adaptation effort globally.

Akinwumi A. Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, told DW that Africa was not just affected by climate change, but “distressed” by it.

Africa and the climate crisis

Africa is the world’s most climate-vulnerable continent, according to the latest UN assessment.

The summit gains importance because it comes before the 27th annual summit of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Egypt, to be held in November.

It was at COP26 in Glasgow that leaders revisited 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. They also made a new commitment to bring more international funding for rapid climate adaption measures.

The African Adaptation Summit takes place just weeks after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that rich countries had failed to deliver on their 2009 promise to spend $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries adapt to global warming.

The OECD said richer nations gave $83.3 billion to poorer nations in 2020, the highest ever sum, but still short of the original amount.

African nations generate less than 3% of all greenhouse gas emissions but they’re suffering “a deluge of problems,” Adesina told DW.

Adesina added that Africa loses anywhere between “$7 billion and $15 billion a year as a result of climate change.”

How can Africa tackle climate change?

Adesina told the summit that Africa does not have the financial resources to tackle climate change since it only receives “3% of the total climate financing.”

Africa will need between $1.3 and $1.6 trillion this decade to implement itss commitments to Paris climate agreement, an annual cost between $140 and $300 billion, Adesina said.

He told DW he is not too concerned whether African can balance the needs of its economy as well as commit to climate adaption techniques.

He maintains African nations have vast gas reserves, and given the crisis in Europe, may even be able to help European countries to secure gas supplies in the future.

Still, despite the presence of leaders and four African presidents at the summit, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina Jane Mohammed, said it was important to take note of those who weren’t there.

She told DW that the struggle was to “continue to see this [climate change] as an existential threat for everyone and not just for one side of the world.”

Mohammed said a major problem was that while money was available for climate finance, very little of it found its way to Africa.

“The truth of the matter is that the resources that we need, need to be leveraged. They need to be de-risked… that’s not happening. And it needs to happen yesterday.”

Mohammed added it was crucial for climate adaptation techniques to take effect.

“This is an implementation COP. It’s happening in Africa. If we can’t demonstrate commitments to Africa at this time, then really the promises are broken,” she told DW.


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