World Bank targets green, resilient economic growth in Africa
*43m people in SSA could be pushed below the poverty line by 2030
The World Bank Group yesterday released the Next Generation Africa Climate Business Plan (NG-ACBP), which sets out a blueprint to help Sub-Saharan African (SSA) economies achieve a low carbon, and climate-resilient outcomes.
The Plan calls for countries to seize the opportunity to scale-up climate resilience to grow their economies and reduce poverty, intensify efforts to increase energy access across the region, and take advantage of sustainable and innovative approaches to leapfrog into greener development pathways.
According to the Bank, without the rapid deployment of inclusive climate-informed development, 43 million additional people could be pushed below the poverty line by 2030 in SSA.
As the largest financier of climate action in Africa, the Bank said it would use the new Climate Plan to build on a strong track record under the original plan, in which the Bank supported 346 projects with more than $33 billion in its financing over the past six years.
Speaking on the initiative, Vice President, West, and Central Africa, World Bank, Ousmane Diagana, said the climate challenge cuts across every priority, including poverty reduction, agriculture, job creation, women’s empowerment, and fragility among others.
According to him, countries need to tackle the climate challenge through multiple ways, including by helping cities develop in clean ways, making climate-smart agriculture practices the norm, improving clean, green, and affordable energy, and putting people and communities at the forefront in order to improve lives and protect the future.
He said over the next six years (2021–26), the World Bank would focus on five key areas in Africa, which are food security, clean energy, green and resilient cities, environmental stability, and climate shocks that emphasize the interrelatedness of climate risks and opportunities.
Commenting, Vice President, East, and Southern Africa, Hafez Ghanem, said Africa’s main challenge was adapting to climate change by investing in more resilient agriculture and food systems, building infrastructure that resists extreme weather events, protecting its coastal cities, and enhancing disaster preparedness systems.
He maintained that green technologies would provide an opportunity for growth and job creation especially in the energy sector where renewables have become a source of clean and inexpensive energy, bringing the goal of universal access to electricity within reach.”
The World Bank recommended that SSA countries should enact policy reforms that recognise the realities of climate change, in order to strengthen recovery and promote long-term growth.
This includes addressing the sizable infrastructure gap in a green and resilient manner, using less carbon-intensive materials and technologies while creating more competitive job opportunities.
The development of the Plan was led by Kanta Kumari Rigaud, Lead Environment Specialist Rigaud, who argued that ramping up climate action on both the resilience and clean energy fronts was critical to addressing climate change and poverty in SSA, as the window of opportunity to counter the climate crisis is rapidly narrowing.
This Plan will be rolled out amid the COVID-19 pandemic, recognising that climate action and green recovery would be key priorities as countries work to build back better from one of the biggest setbacks in the region’s development in the last 25 years.