Alain-Richard Donwahi, UNCCD COP 15 President, Côte d’Ivoire
Yvonne Ike, Managing Director, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, Bank of America
Theodore Murphy, Director, Africa Programme, European Council on Foreign Relations
The climate adaptation needs of Africa are not being met and a lack of affordable and consistent finance is a key cause. Between 2019-2020, Africa received only 11.4 billion USD in adaptation investments and estimates suggest that there will be a funding shortfall of 453 billion USD in adaptation needs for Africa between 2020 and 2030. Furthermore, 53% of funding for adaptations were derived from loans, rather than grants. Private sector financing is also limited, constituting only 3% of total funding toward climate adaptation.
One of the reasons for the limited amount of climate adaptation funding in Africa is that adaptation projects typically provide weak returns on investment. For example, unlike undertaking renewable energy projects, typical adaptation efforts, such as floodwalls, do not provide significant revenue. Yet, these adaptation projects contribute significantly to domestic economic output. Modelling from the Global Centre on Adaptations indicate that investment in climate adaptation would yield 3 times more jobs and 8 times the increase to domestic output than a traditional stimulus package, all within a 5-year period.
The natural answer to this problem would be for African governments to invest in climate adaptation. With significant economic benefits to investment in climate adaptation, it is logical for governments to invest, safe in the knowledge that there are economy-wide benefits. However, “higher-for-longer” interest rates have made African debt more expensive to finance than ever.
Generating these ideas will require the development of new ideas, fostered by dialogue between European and African partners. Yet, often European policy circles lack awareness of the specific shortfalls that African countries face in climate adaptation financing. This is a broader problem within European foreign policy, which currently tries to tackle key international issues without meaningful dialogue with African countries and institutions.
The period between the upcoming Paris Peace Forum and COP28 provides an opportunity to identify the key issues holding back investment in climate adaptation and to develop solutions, and to increase the presence of African figures in European foreign policy discussions.
The kick-off event for the African Voices initiative will tackle the issue of climate adaptation financing, “African Voices: Reaching Sustainable Funding for Climate Adaptation in Africa.” The event is hosted by ECFR and the Tana Forum, and will take place in Hôtel Bachaumont, Paris at 14:00 on the 27th November, in a panel format and will last approximately 1.5 hours (incl. Q&A).