A man walks over a mountain of plastic bottles as he carries a bag of them to resell them for recycling after weighing them at the Dandora slum landfill in Nairobi, Kenya. PA
The report, Roadmap to Africa’s COP: A Pragmatic Path to Net Zero, comes against a backdrop where Africa has borne the brunt of the most devastating impacts of climate change while contributing little to global emissions. This low carbon output reflects Africa’s crippling energy deficit, which has hampered industrialization and economic development. Africa therefore needs a realistic program to combat climate change that allows the region to continue to advance its industrial base.
“Africa is unlike any other continent when it comes to global net zero – and we need a blueprint for a common negotiating position that reflects this,” said Samaila Zubairu, President and CEO of the AFC. “We advocate for consideration of Africa’s energy deficit and the need for quantum leaps in industrialization for job creation and poverty reduction, as well as for the construction of infrastructure at the climate proofing and protecting our powerful carbon sinks”.
The report argues that while reducing emissions is vital for the wealthiest, most developed and most polluting nations, there is a more limited universal impact to be gained from reducing sub-Saharan Africa’s much lower emissions. . The report concludes that African nations will have a much greater effect in the fight against global warming by focusing instead on three important areas of change.
According to the report, Africa needs to focus on developing local industries by placing processing and manufacturing at the center of sustainable circular economies. This will eliminate emissions-inducing shipments of minerals and other African products to Asia for manufacturing and processing, only to be shipped again as finished products to consumer markets.
To achieve this goal, Africa’s energy deficit must be closed. While renewable sources are the ultimate goal, in the short term Africa needs to tap into its abundant reserves of natural gas. Given that much of Africa is already at net zero, such development can be achieved without contributing substantially to global carbon emissions, while channeling harmful gas flares from oil fields and reducing pollution. use of more polluting fuels such as coal, diesel and firewood. The resulting job creation and economic growth will enable African nations to invest more in renewable sources.
It is particularly important to create local manufacturing of renewable energy technology components. It is essential that these metals are mined in a way that minimizes additional pollution and that resource-efficient sustainable mining techniques are combined with ecosystems that support local production centers.
Africa is the region most exposed to the ravages of global warming, largely because its infrastructure is ill-equipped to withstand climatic shocks. Without intervention, the cost of structural damage from natural disasters in Africa will rise to $415 billion a year by 2030, from $250-300 billion currently, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction . The continent needs strong and resilient buildings – to rebuild ocean and river defences, as well as transport, construction, power grids and off-grid energy infrastructure, which in turn will contribute to the development of an exploitative sustainable mining and circular economies that drive growth and job creation, according to the report.
The key to effecting change is ensuring that Africa-based institutions such as AFC have access to critical climate funds through financial innovation to support resilient construction and investment in manufacturing and processing at localized large scale. Funding is also needed to help preserve Africa’s vast carbon sinks, which absorb more carbon dioxide each year than the rainforests of any other region, but are depleted by local people of firewood for cooking and heating.
Working with development finance institutions, governments and institutional investors, AFC’s many projects over the past 15 years demonstrate that it is possible to mobilize finance at scale by attracting private sector investment. By leveraging financial contribution from governments and NGOs, we have the tools to de-risk climate investments and deliver strong returns to entice institutional investors to fund. These efforts can help ensure that capital flows to the front lines of the fight against climate change in Africa.
About Africa Finance Corporation
AFC was established in 2007 to catalyze private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa. It is the second highest rated multilateral financial institution in Africa. AFC’s approach combines specialist sector expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and venture capital to meet Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive a sustainable economic growth. AFC invests in high-quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the basic infrastructure sectors of energy, natural resources, heavy industry, transportation and telecommunications. Since its inception, AFC has invested more than US$10 billion in projects in 35 African countries.