Though Africa is among the least of populating continents, the continent bears the brunt of climate change. The developed western world has produced the majority of the carbon emissions that are first-hand causes of global warming. China and the USA account for the biggest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions of 23 per cent and 19 per cent respectively. European Union ranks third with 13 per cent of greenhouse gas emission. Sadly due to Africa’s numerous vulnerabilities, low-adaptive capacities and its unavoidable dependence on industrialization for economic growth, climate change may become the biggest challenge for Africa.
Droughts, desertification and decreased crop production spread heavily on the African soil. From 1995 to 2015, there are increased numbers of droughts especially in East Africa (77 cases). Since a large number of farmers rely on rainfall, there is a decrease in crop yields by 50 percent. This, in turn, paves the way to famine and food insecurities even in regions that suffer hunger on daily basis. South Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Somalia are undergoing some cases of famine and poor harvest. Water scarcity roams the streets of Addis Abeba (Ethiopia), Cape Town (South Africa) and Juba (South Sudan).
It is needful that African leaders, international and regional development organisations with concerned industrialized countries tackle this climate shocks in Africa. It is reported that by 2060, 1.6 billion people may be forced to leave their homes as a result of climate change. Undoubtedly. Africa may suffer grossly if solid solutions are not implemented to mitigate climate change. Will Africa persevere even in the midst of its dependence in climate-sensitive sectors for its growth.
National governments and regional cooperation can take up the challenge with day-to-day application of technology, expertise and climate change finance. Creating climate-proof economies and low-carbon growth. we will propel poverty reduction, agricultural prosperity and generally continental growth. Notwithstanding, African leaders have shown massive enthusiasm in the Paris Agreement which intends to keep the global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius. Over 100 countries are committed towards the agreement with each country developing a unilateral mechanism towards achieving the goal. The Common African Position supported by the African Ministerial Conference commits the African countries to the climate change problems. Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) aims at reducing emissions and increasing climate resilience almost in all sectors. Other countries like Kenya and Ghana have also aligned the climate change challenge in their national plans. Chad through its Vision 2030 will fund projects that will reduce the country’s dependence on traditional water sources. The country’s partnership with World Agroforestry Center encourages farmers to adopt the agroforestry practices – growing food crops (annuals) and trees (perennial) together on the same piece of land. Agroforestry system helps in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Regional cooperation and institutions are building on present efforts to create a sustainable environment for a green economy in Africa. The African Risk Capacity (ARC) and Disaster Risk Financing Programme are currently backed by Africa Development Bank (AfDB). The Bank partnering with ARC will enhance risk management support and strategy across Africa while assisting countries in building resilience against the climate change crisis.
Germany as a concerned developed country has pledged and contributed approximately $1billion to the Green Climate Fund to solve the climate change issues in developing countries. The Green Climate Fund has in many ways, made vital progress in financing low-carbon and climate resilient development in developing countries. The international community must step up to support Africa in solving the headstrong forces of climate change in their environment. Nonetheless, African governments must faithfully seek financial and technical support from the international community.
By 2030, about 100 million people will be forced into poverty, mostly Africans. Locally, private sectors must troop in with their technological and monetary support. Solar Sister, an innovative enterprise passionate about women’s empowerment in Africa and tackling energy and climate change issues has distributed thousands of solar lamps in Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania and other African countries. Against water stress, SunCulture provides Kenya with a cheaper and more sustainable way to grow high-quality vegetable by substituting expensive and environmentally harmful fuel pumps with efficient solar pumps.
So far, the continent is making a lot of progress in creating a resilient environment for climate change. Though Africa making moves to mitigate climate change seem to be ambitious but with the understanding of its interconnectedness with other SDGs, all hands must be on deck.