Published on Africa Can End Poverty

Investing in climate action in Africa

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Last week in New York, 175 nations signed the Paris Agreement on climate change. It was adopted at COP21 in Paris last December. Subject to sufficient ratifications (by at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions), the Agreement will enter into force in 2020.
Why does this matter, and what does it mean for the World Bank (WB), and the Africa Region in particular?
It matters for the WB as climate change and poverty are inextricably linked. Climate-induced shocks precipitate lots of people into poverty and risk undoing the progress toward the WB’s poverty reduction goals. Conversely, good climate change policies can contribute to poverty reduction. Good development policies can also alleviate climate vulnerability, as shown in the WB’s recent Shockwaves report, and is central to the World Bank Group’s Climate Change Action Plan.
It also matters for the WB because the Paris Agreement contains so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which are national commitments to both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change. On the mitigation front, the sum of all the commitments gives an indication of the rate of global warming that can be expected by 2100 (as of their current levels, the sum of NDCs would cause a warming slightly in excess of 2⁰C). A global stocktake will happen in 2023 to assess progress toward fulfilling the Paris Agreement, and NDCs are expected to be updated every five years.  Most of the developing country NDCs contain two scenarios – one with only domestic finance available, and the other one assuming that international finance is available. Support by the WB and others is needed to help countries fulfill their commitments.
Living on the Edge: Saving West Africa Coastal Assets

On the adaptation front, NDCs also spell out the countries’ needs. Not surprisingly Africa is one of the regions that needs adaptation support the most, and yet it receives only a fraction of what is needed.
The WB’s response is the Africa Climate Business Plan (ACBP), which we launched at COP21 in the presence of four African Heads of State and Government. The plan calls for $19 billion, of which $8 billion is from the International Development Association (IDA) for 18 priority programs enhancing climate resilience. These include strengthening the resilience of Africa’s natural capital (landscapes, forests, agriculture, water basins and oceans); its physical capital (cities, transport infrastructure and physical assets in coastal areas); and the continent’s human and social capital (including improving social protection for the more vulnerable against climate shocks); and addressing the climate-related drivers of migration). We will also power resilience using low-carbon energy sources, mainly solar, hydro and geothermal. Finally, we plan to enable resilience by strengthening hydro-met systems and building the capacity to plan and design climate-resilient investments.
Now the focus is on implementation. COP22 in Marrakesh in November 2016 will take stock of the pledges that were made at COP21. The Africa Region has also committed to taking stock and reporting on progress. On April 15, in the margin of the Spring Meetings, a side event discussed the ACBP with the financial community. The side event underscored the importance of Africa in global climate action and provided concrete illustrations of what the plan can help achieve. Mustapha Bakkoury, CEO of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy presented the Noor Ouarzazate project, the largest operating concentrated solar power plant on earth, which has benefited from $400 million of WB financing. This is a relevant model for the ACBP objective of boosting solar power by 1 GW in the Sahel region. Cisse Mariama Kaïdama Sidibé, Ambassador of Niger Basin Authority, reported on progress with the Niger Basin Climate Resilience Investment Plan. We also discussed coastal management and the blue economy, will be priorities for the Africa Region in the lead-up to COP22. In fact, just days later after the side event, the WB and France signed a cooperation agreement to boost the resilience of West African coastal areas.
At the Annual Meetings, just one month before COP22, we plan to report on progress in mobilizing funds and design for these and the other programs of the ACBP. Africa needs significant investments in climate-resilient, low-carbon development. And she needs them fast.


Benoît Bosquet

Director for Sustainable Development for Latin America and Caribbean

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