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The COP26 Africa Needs

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

In this op-ed, four African leaders, Akinwumi Adesina (President of the African Development Bank), Ibrahim Assane Mayaki (CEO of the African Union Development Agency’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Director-General of the World Trade Organization) and Vera Songwe (United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa), call for decisive action at COP26 to address the impacts of climate change in Africa. They set out a four-part strategic financial and trade package that can transform climate inequality into inclusiveness by ensuring a transformative shift of resources from historic greenhouse-gas (GHG) emitters to Africa. They also highlight how Africa is tackling climate adaptation head on with home grown solutions, including the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme (AAAP).  

Africa needs decisive collective action rather than more encouraging words. In particular, rich countries should support a four-part financial and trade package that can ensure a transformative shift of resources to the region.

Below is an excerpt; read the full piece here

Almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the unequal nature of the global response to the crisis is glaringly obvious. Whereas very few African countries have managed to spend the equivalent of even 1% of their GDP to combat this virtually unprecedented health emergency, Western economies have mustered over $10 trillion, or 30% of their combined GDP, to tackle it. Europe and the United States have fully vaccinated, respectively, 75% and 70% of their adult populations against COVID-19, but fewer than 6% of Africans have been vaccinated. And while some Western countries are already administering booster shots, Africa cannot get initial doses. 

This systemic inequity is equally evident in efforts to address the climate crisis. Climate disasters, like viruses, know no boundaries. But whereas governments in the Global North respond to such events by borrowing on capital markets at negligible cost in order to finance stimulus and investment packages, African countries must rely on either a trickle of liquidity through debt-suspension initiatives, aid pledges, or exorbitantly expensive capital-market funding. None of these options currently provide these economies with the upfront capital investment they need to improve their long-term prospects.