If nothing is done soon, the harsh reality will see Africa’s economic growth stunted as a result of climate change – which will create a huge poverty trap for millions of Africans.
According to the report released by the United Kingdom Relief Agency Christian Aid organization, the future of Africa remains gloomy unless leaders in the country change their current climate policies and western nations desist from paying lip services as regards assisting the continent in tackling climate change.
African leaders have expressed their utmost disappointment at the body language and failed promises of western superpowers in their commitment to tackling climate change. They have used the opportunity of the ongoing 27th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly referred to as COP27, taking place from 6 November until 18 November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, to express their disappointments and task the West to follow their commitments with actions.
Speaking at the COP27, the president of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, reiterated that the world was racing against time in its approach to addressing the issues of climate change. He further warned that the effects of climate change might seem to affect Africa the most, but it is one that would knock on the doors of every nation of the world.
Going by the report, even if African countries “keep global temperature rise to 1.5C as set out in the Paris Agreement, they’ll face an average GDP reduction of 14% by 2050 and 34% by 2100.” As of 2021, the World Bank’s estimate of the total GDP of Africa was earmarked at $1.92 trillion in 2021.
Although African countries currently contribute the least to climate change, countries in the continent stand to suffer most from its effects – something which many critics believe is the reason behind the carefree attitude of western nations to keep to their commitment to the Paris Agreement.
In a study carried out on 50 African countries to ascertain the level of damage the continent is at risk of, Sudan was reported as the country to suffer the most. Even in a 1.5 degrees scenario – which is t its least – Sudan is expected to experience a GDP reduction of 22.4% by 2050 and 51.6% by 2100. The least affected of the 50 profiled African countries would be South Africa.
According to the global report, eight out of the ten countries to be affected the most by climate change and global warming are African nations – and they remain the most unprepared to handle the crisis.
“These findings are stark and deserve to act as a wakeup call to leaders of all countries about the economic devastation African countries face unless we put the brakes on our rising emissions,” Oliver Pearce, chief of policy, public affairs, and campaigns at Christian Aid, says in the report.
The recent floods in Nigeria, which official records state has displaced over 1.3 million people from their homes and claimed 600 lives, is one of the many pieces of evidence that proves that the harsh effects of climate change are closer than we had earlier thought. Also, in January this year, 190,429 people were displaced in Malawi due to Cyclone Ana, and no fewer than 453 lost their lives in South Africa in April due to flooding.
Speaking at the United Nations conference on climate change, Namibia’s president Hage Geingob said, “rich countries don’t care about climate,” and feels that the West has not pledged enough to save Africa’s future generations. He has called for the “scaling up of the levels of climate finance, through providing concrete long term-targets for climate finance pathways and accounting methodologies for the collective goal by developed countries to reach $100 billion a year from 2025 and beyond.”
Kenyan president William Ruto also criticized the West for “skirting around issues and delay tactics” in financing climate adaptation in Africa. He asked developed economies to compensate the continent “no later than 2024,” saying the delay tactics and continuously failed promises by the West must come to an end.
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