World Bank calls for $16bn to help Africa weather the effects of climate change
The World Bank has devised a $16bn (£10.6bn) strategy designed to help Africa adapt to climate change and prevent millions of people from sliding into poverty.
By fast-tracking clean energy, efficient farming and urban protection, the measures promise to greatly increase renewable energy across the continent, bolster food production and lead to the planting of billions of trees. It is also hoped that the scheme will improve life in cities and reduce poverty, migration and conflict.
The continent of nearly 1 billion people, which emits just 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, will be affected more than anywhere else by even the smallest rise in global temperatures, said Jim Yong Kim, the bank’s president, who will launch the Africa climate business plan at the UN climate talks in Paris next week.
According to the bank, Africa needs to spend $5-$10bn a year immediately to adapt to a 2C warming, rising to $20-$50bn by 2050, and close to $100bn if temperatures increase by 4C.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is highly vulnerable to climate shocks, and our research shows that could have far-ranging impact on everything from child stunting and malaria to food price increases and droughts,” said Kim.
Even if warming does not exceed 2C, sub-Saharan Africa can expect large increases in poverty and malnutrition, the bank said in its report. But if temperatures rise 3-4C, which they are on course to do by the end of the centuryif no action is taken, heat extremes could affect 70%–80% of Africa’s land area in the summer months, and much of southern and central Africa would be at risk ofsevere drought.
African cities are expected to be disproportionately affected. “The problem will affect a growing number of people, as the urban population of Africa is estimated to rise from its current level of 472 million to 659 million by 2025 and 1 billion by 2040. The poor will be especially hard hit,” said the bank.
“Dakar experiences recurrent flooding; the 2009 floods affected almost 360,000 people and caused $100m in damages and losses. Recurrent floods in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, cause on average $7m in damages and losses a year. By 2025, about 66 new cities will be added to the 81 cities currently in the medium-city range. This group of cities needs support to enhance their capacity to manage climate-related risks.”
The bank proposes that $500m be spent on projects to reduce deforestation and increase wildlife protection in 14 countries. It also aims to restore up to 100m hectares (247m acres) of degraded and deforested land by 2030. Much of the money needed would come from carbon funds and initiatives expected to be finalised at the Paris talks.
Another $2.5bn should be spent in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria on irrigation, dams, and large-scale flood protection projects, the bank proposes. This, it hopes, could protect and provide electricity to 3 million people.
In the Zambesi basin, countries like Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe would share $3.6bn in investments in hydropower, water transfers, irrigation and flood control.
A further $2bn is earmarked for 20 unnamed cities to improve transport and protection against natural disasters.
Nearly $8bn would be spent on solar energy by 2024, both for cities connected to the grid and off-grid communities, under the terms of the plan. It could include funds to build concentrated solar power stations, as well as money to expand the growth of mini grids and wind power.
At present, 600 million people and 10 million small and medium-size enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa still do not have a connection to the electricity grid.
Once one of the world’s largest investors in coal power, the bank now says it plans to develop renewable energy urgently in Africa, with dams planned in Cameroon and west Africa.
“Hydropower currently provides 24% of sub-Saharan Africa’s power needs, and there is potential to increase this share to 40% over the coming years. Some 50GW of hydropower could be developed immediately, at costs of $0.01–$0.08/kWh. These prices make hydropower the lowest cost, largest scale renewable energy resource currently available to the region – with potential for transformative, growth-inducing developmental impacts,” says the report.
The bank will also back and extend existing plans to increase food production. “More efficient livestock systems would increase protein availability while reducing emissions per kilogramme of meat or dairy produced. Conservation agriculture techniques would protect soils from wind and water erosion. Weather information and early warning systems would enable farmers to take better decisions, reducing risk and protecting yields in uncertain climate and weather conditions.”
Because millions of people depend on rain-fed agriculture or live in drought-prone zones in urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa, climate change is intimately linked to poverty levels, said the report.
“Climate variability is already exacting a heavy toll on development; future change may have catastrophic impacts, as drought, floods, and storm surges could push millions of people into poverty and prevent millions of others from emerging from it,” it says.
The new funds will go some way to compensate for the fact that Africa has largely missed out on receiving funds from the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism: only about 2% of the 7,000 projects funded by the CDM were on the continent.
Of the $16.1bn that the bank wants to raise, roughly $5.7bn is expected to come from the International Development Association (IDA), the arm of the World Bank Group that supports the poorest countries.
About $2.2bn is expected from climate finance instruments including Climate Investment Funds, the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility. A further $2bn will be delivered through bilateral and multilateral sources, while $3.5bn is anticipated from the private sector. An estimated $0.7bn will come from domestic sources. An additional $2bn is still to be sourced.
Makhtar Diop, the bank’s vice president for Africa, said the plan set out a clear path for investment in the continent’s urgent climate needs, and to fast-track the required finance.
“While adapting to climate change and mobilising the necessary resources remain an enormous challenge, the plan represents a critical opportunity to support a priority set of climate-resilient initiatives in Africa.”