World Bank says sub-Saharan Africa faces development challenges posed by climate change

08:37, June 09, 2011      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Sub-Saharan Africa is facing a development challenge caused by climate change which could cost it 17 billion U.S. dollars a year, the World Bank's Special Envoy for Climate Change, Andrew Steer said on Wednesday.

According to a statement from the bank's offices in Nairobi, Steer warned that the figure was a conservative estimate of likely adaptation costs because it is based on the assumption of rapid action to address climate change, ensuring that average global temperature increases stay below 2-degrees centigrade. "At present we are sadly not on track to limit global temperature increase to 2 degrees. Without more urgent action, the costs to Africa for adapting to more floods, droughts, heat, rising sea level, and shifting disease patterns would be sharply higher," he said.

Releasing a series of World Bank country studies on the economics of adaptation to climate change, Steer said climate change jeopardizes Africa's hard-won development gains. "We need to use the next UN climate conference in Durban to make Africa's agenda much more central to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process."

"Climate shocks are already a major threat to some of the most vulnerable Africans. The Durban COP meeting needs to devote energies to outlining the urgent concrete solutions needed for climate adaptation and mitigation across the continent, including addressing Africa's 17 billion-a-year dollars challenge," Abiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank vice president for the Africa Region said.

In addressing the threat of climate change, Ezekwesili said not only can Africa leapfrog older technologies, "it can do so while also addressing the job creation challenge and accelerating development."

The new World Bank country studies, undertaken in partnership with the developing countries themselves, are designed to help decision-makers assess their climate change risks and design appropriate adaptation strategies.

So far, Steer said Africa has been receiving less than 2 percent of all Clean Development Mechanism money, "that's not right." "In addition to moving forward the Cancun agreements, issues central to Africa concerns like energy access, agriculture and carbon market reform should be firmly on the agenda for Durban," he said.

Ethiopia, Ghana and Mozambique, the three African countries studied, have similar vulnerabilities. All of them are dependent on agriculture and affected by cyclical droughts and floods.

According to the studies, Ethiopia's GDP could be 2 to 8 percent lower than expected if it does not invest in adaptation while it says Ghana could see 2 to 7 percent lower GDP by 2050 with its water and energy sectors expected to decline by 3 to 6 percent. In Mozambique, the report says climate change is likely to result in GDP losses of 4 to 14 percent relative to its expected growth by 2050.

Despite these vulnerabilities, the studies show there are opportunities for the three countries to make their development climate-resilient. "These countries are building infrastructure that needs to serve the next generation through unprecedented climate situations," Steer said. "Now it is the time for African countries to invest in better building codes, all-weather roads, early-warning systems, and efficient irrigation."

The studies analyzed impacts and adaptation strategies for agriculture, forestry, fisheries, infrastructure, and water resources.

Building on a World Bank 2009 global study that estimated adaptation costs to developing countries in the order of 75 to 100 billion dollars per year by 2050, they compared a future world without climate change to a future world with climate change.

The difference between the two entails a series of actions that add up to the cost of adapting to climate change.

Across Africa, the World Bank Group is engaged in strategic policy dialogues with several countries to integrate climate change into their development plans.

Already, 13 country assistance strategies, including those of Nigeria, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Cameroon, have climate change as a component.

In partnership with the African Development Bank, the World Bank is mobilizing dedicated resources for climate action through the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), with investment plans being developed in 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

In support of adaptation efforts, selected pilot countries, namely Mozambique, Zambia and Niger, are each receiving 40 to 60 million dollars in grant funding to enhance their climate resilience.

Meanwhile programs are underway to scale-up access to renewable energy in Ethiopia, Kenya and Mali and to support sustainable forest management projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burkina Faso.

Source: Xinhua
  Weekly review  


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • China battles droughts
  • Wen Jiabao attends trilateral leaders' meeting of China, Japan and ROK
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Students from flood-hit area took part in college entrance exam
  • Hot bikini girls promote video game "Saints Row" at E3 in LA
  • Chinese Defense Minister meets with Chilean counterpart
  • U.S., Egyptian military officials meet in Cairo
  • Chinese vice president arrives in Montevideo for visit
  • Firefighters extinguish forest fire in NW China
Hot Forum Discussion