More than 30 heads of state and global leaders have expressed support for the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program in a virtual Leaders’ Dialogue. The dialogue was convened by the AfDB, the Global Center on Adaptation and the Africa Adaptation Initiative.

The program’s objective is to mobilize Ksh. 2.73 trillion ($25 billion) to accelerate climate change adaptation actions across Africa. The heads of state and global leaders have committed to prioritize actions that help African countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and build forward better.

Africa currently faces the dual onslaught of climate change, estimated at between Ksh. 770 billion ($7 billion) and Ksh. 1.64 trillion ($15 billion) each year. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic also continues to claim lives on a daily basis across Africa. The African Development Bank (AfDB) predicts that the impact of climate change on the continent could rise to Ksh. 5.5 trillion ($50 billion )each year by 2040, with a further 3% decline in GDP by 2050.

President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and African Union Chairperson, said, “I invite my fellow heads of state to revisit our climate ambitions and accelerate the implementation of our actions planned under our national priorities. To do this we will need to focus on actions to adapt to the impacts of climate change, these include nature-based solutions, energy transition, enhanced transparency framework, technology transfer and climate finance.”

Commenting on the climate change topic, Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is eroding recent progress in building climate resilience and leaving countries and communities more vulnerable to future shocks. Africa must make up for lost ground and lost time. Climate change did not stop because of Covid-19, and neither should the urgent task of preparing humanity to live with the multiple effects of a warming planet.”

African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said, “With our partners, we intend to mobilize Ksh. 2.73 trillion ($25 billion) in financing for the success of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program. It is time for developed countries to meet their promise of providing Ksh. 10.9 trillion ($100 billion) annually for climate finance. And a greater share of this should go to climate adaptation. The International Monetary Fund’s plan to issue Ksh. 70.9 trillion ($650 billion) of new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to boost global reserves and liquidity will be enormously helpful to support green growth and climate financing for economic recovery.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “African nations are showing leadership, the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, and many other ambitious African initiatives, must be empowered to fully deliver on their goals. Universal access to energy in Africa, a priority in the coming years, could be provided primarily through renewable energy. I call for a comprehensive package of support to meet these dual objectives by COP 26. It is achievable, it is necessary, it is overdue, and it is smart.”

Speaking on behalf of US President Joseph R. Biden, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, “The United States remains a committed development partner for Africa and a huge supporter of the African Development Bank. Africa contributed the least to climate change but is suffering the worst of its effects. We support the program to help ensure that together, we can avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, as launched by the AfDB and the Global Center on Adaptation, revolves around several transformative initiatives as listed below.

  1. Climate Smart Digital Technologies for Agriculture and Food Security aims to scale up access to climate-smart digital technologies for at least 30 million farmers in Africa.
  2. The African Infrastructure Resilience Accelerator to scale up investment for climate-resilient urban and rural infrastructure in key sectors. These include water, transport, energy, and waste management for a circular economy.
  3. Empowering Youth for Entrepreneurship and Job Creation in Climate Resilience to provide one million youths with skills for climate adaptation and support 10,000 small and medium size youth-led businesses to create green jobs.
  4. Innovative Financial Initiatives for Africa to help close adaptation finance gaps, enhance access to existing finance and mobilize new public and private sector investment.