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About the 2022 Annual Meetings

25/05/2022

Introduction

Africa is warming up faster than the world. Already, the surface temperature on the continent has increased more rapidly than the global average, and in the future, the median temperatures in the northern and southern regions of the continent could rise by 3.6oC if the global median temperature increases by 2oC. Furthermore, sea levels have risen higher around the continent than the global average over the last three decades. According to IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, it is almost certain that sea levels in Africa will continue to rise, increasing the risk of coastal flooding. Additionally, the Sahara, the Horn of Africa, and Central Africa are projected to have heavier precipitation and corresponding increases in pluvial flooding, while Southern and Eastern Africa are projected to experience higher tropical wind speeds and more Category 4-5 cyclones.

Today, around 600 million people in Africa do not have access to electricity and 900 million lack access to clean cooking facilities, most of them in rural areas. Four in every five Africans rely on solid biomass for cooking, which causes an estimated 600,000 deaths per annum due to household air pollution in addition to the challenge of deforestation. To grow and prosper, Africa needs modern energy systems that address multiple challenges spanning affordability, the security of supply, and sustainability. Energy-sector bottlenecks and recurrent power cuts are costing annually the equivalent of 2-4% of Africa’s GDP, and impeding job creation, industrialization, and investment. The need to tackle this huge twin challenge of climate change and electricity deficits as well as their associated challenges necessitated the importance of the proposed theme for the 2022 Annual Meetings. The focus will allow the Bank to serve as a voice and thought leader on the twin issues of climate resilience and energy transition in Africa. Straddling between the just concluded COP26 and COP27 to be hosted by Africa, the discussions will allow for a timely and frank assessments and discussions, as well as recommendations on how Africa can mobilize resources at scale to achieve climate resilience and low carbon transition objectives. It will also allow the Bank to respond to one of its commitments to increase strategic alignment and operational focus through supporting a transition to low carbon and climate-resilient development.

Background and Rationale

Five years ago, El Niño devastated East and Southern Africa, with severe droughts. In 2019, tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth impacted on the economies of Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Eight hundred people died, with $2 billion in losses. This vicious cycle repeated itself in 2021 with Cyclone Eloise wreaking havoc on the same region in January. It is estimated that from 2020, the adaptation needs for Africa to tackle climate change will amount to $331 billion by 2030. This is certainly way below the actual needs given the rapidly warming trajectory of the planet.

It is expected that following the 6th IPCC report and the recent IEA report on Net-Zero by 2050, the world will accelerate the transition toward net-zero energy systems. The IEA’s roadmap for net-zero transitions in the global energy sector will have implications for energy access with significant trade-offs and co-benefits for inclusive and sustainable development in Africa. There is a growing concern that renewable energy transitions may deepen energy poverty in the developing world and may lead to other environmental degradation challenges due to the hunt for clean energy minerals.

The climate change challenge for Africa is primarily about adaptation and making development climate-resilient. Ramping up climate finance flows for adaptation is critical to addressing the irreversible impacts of climate change. At present, adaptation finance accounts for only 10% of global climate finance. Overall, only about 19% of total international adaptation finance is programmed in Africa, with the continent receiving paltry 3% of total global climate finance flows. Scaling adaptation actions and the required finance in Africa is imperative.

Coming at the heels of COP26 and the 2022 AEO titled Supporting Climate Resilience and a Just Energy Transition for Africa, and serving as a prelude to COP27, there is a need for frank discussions on the strategies, policies, and actions required to achieve climate resilience and just energy transition in Africa. The discussion would provide policymakers with the necessary diagnostic and policy toolbox to identify quick-win strategies for implementing the energy transformation that would help achieve green and inclusive development in their economies. Such discussion will allow for articulation of actionable policies at global, continental, regional and national levels to achieve climate resilience and just energy transition.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) have developed a joint flagship program – The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program- to find solutions to accelerate, innovate and scale adaptation actions in Africa. The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) was launched during the Climate Adaptation Summit in 2021 (CAS 2021) to mobilize US$ 25 billion to scale up transformative and climate change adaptation actions across Africa. The ambition is to galvanize climate resilience actions, support countries to accelerate and scale up climate adaptation and resilience and mobilize financing at scale for climate adaptation in Africa. One of the flagship programs is the Empowering Youth for Entrepreneurship and Job Creation in Climate Adaptation and Resilience (YOUTH ADAPT).

Proposed Theme 

The proposed theme for the 2022 Annual Meetings’ Knowledge Events is “Achieving Climate Resilience and a Just Energy Transition for Africa”. This theme is chosen to provide a framework for Governors of the Bank to share their experiences in addressing the climate change and energy transition challenges they face as well as the policy responses/measures they are employing to deal with them. RMCs will have the opportunity to discuss the nature of the support they need from global development partners, as well as the estimated cost of building resilience and just energy transition for their economies. The discussion on building resilience will go beyond climate change, to include health, financial, socioeconomic and environmental shocks as warranted by the current global context. The knowledge events organized around the theme will provide forums for exchanging views on strategies, policies, and interventions, as well as promoting peer-to-peer learning and solution-oriented policy dialogue for building the Africa of our dreams.

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