The African continent contains many of the nations which are in danger of suffering the most from the declining climate situation. In order to survive, these areas need to prepare themselves for the inevitable changes, and move their infrastructures over to more sustainable practices.
In light of this, the World Bank has stepped in to help out, pledging to invest US$22.5 billion between 2021 and 2025; double what they had previously committed to climate projects over the past five years. This fund is aimed at increasing “adaptation and resilience to major climate impacts like catastrophic floods, droughts, water scarcity, coastal erosion, as well as preparing countries for a low carbon sustainable future” according to an official statement.
In addition to this, the African Development Bank has also promised US$25 billion along a similar timeline, with a stronger focus on the renewable energy sector. This monolithic injection of funds arrives just as the One Planet Summit begins in Nairobi, a meeting of the U.N. Environment Assembly.
The summit goal: to tackle consumption and waste, boost biodiversity, and analyse renewable energy potentials.
The wealthier nations of the world are the worst culprits for adding to climate chaos, and yet are unlikely to experience food shortages, insufficient shelter, or mass emigration in the way that more vulnerable countries – especially African nations – are. World Bank Interim President Kristalina Georgieva is well aware of this inequality:
“Africa contributes 4% of CO² emissions globally but already more than 65% of the population there is impacted by climate change, by drought, by flooding, by storms.” – Kristalina Georgieva
She also noted, during the banks announcement, that the African continent has many assets that are suitable for becoming renewable resources; solar energy, for one, needs to be expanded from the 1.5% contribution it currently provides to locals.
Population growth is slowing across much of the globe, but not in Africa. Many African nations are still experience a swift rise in numbers, and at the current rate the continent will be home to more than 2 billion people by 2050. Sustainability initiatives will have to keep up with the population surge, as current infrastructure in many places is simply inadequate. While not being invested directly into education or equality – factors that slow population growth – the funding is hoped to mitigate the worst of the problems arising from altered weather.
The decline of forested land across Africa will also be tackled. Whereas big business and mega-farming are responsible for much worldwide deforestation, in central and east Africa it is smaller-scale farming and lack of resources that is the cause of mass felling. Preservation of what remains, and initiatives to plant more trees, are considered part of the AFB’s funding package. Kenya, for example, is planning to go from 7% to 10% forest cover by 2022, while Madagascar is aiming to plant between 40 and 80 million trees a year.
The funding from the World Bank is also directly related to its own agreed-upon Climate Action targets, which it is aiming to fulfil by 2025. Moreover, it is collaborating with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development in integrating climate adaptation within the infrastructure of a number of African nations.