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Africa’s GDP may fall by 30 pc due to climate change

President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Innovation and Breakthrough Summit in Glasgow.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has cautioned that in the absence of urgent climate change adaptation action, Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) risks contracting by up to 30 per cent by 2050.

He says the global community to support the accelerated rollout of adaptation programmes to mitigate against the growing adverse effects of climate change as well as strengthen the continent’s resilience.

“While it is relatively more difficult to design and implement adaptation projects and while fewer resources are currently available for adaptation, we should not lose sight of the fact that adaptation is, without doubt, smart economics,” Kenyatta said.

Uhuru’s message was contained in a recorded video address delivered Tuesday at a hybrid conference hosted by the University of Nairobi in partnership with the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) to celebrate the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Day, a pre-cursor to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) that starts in Glasgow, Scotland, tomorrow.

President Kenyatta said despite Kenya significantly increasing the number of financial resources invested in adaptation programmes in recent years, the country needed more international support to fully implement its updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Trends in adaptation

“To implement our NDCs, we plan to invest approximately US$8 billion over the next 10 years. This is just 10 per cent of the total investment needed of the NDCs and we, therefore, need support from our international partners,” the President said.

He observed that the financing challenge is not peculiar to Kenya saying, globally funding for climate adaptation, which in 2017 averaged around 30 billion US dollars a year, needed to be increased tenfold to meet the growing needs of vulnerable communities across the world.

“Indications are that for an investment of 800 million US dollars in developing countries in climate adaptation programmes would result in benefits of up to 16 billion US dollars per year,” the President noted.

The Head of State pointed out that Covid-19 had exacerbated the funding situation with countries around the world collectively allocating over 20 trillion US dollars to the pandemic thereby greatly reducing resources available to combat climate change.

“However, climate change cannot wait while we address Covid-19; we must address the two challenges together. Indeed, to make recovery truly sustainable, we need to institute green recovery measures that integrate adaptation and mitigation measures,” the President said.

This year’s report on the state and trends of adaptation in Africa was launched by GCA at hybrid conference. The report, among other provisions, lists adaptation actions and investment opportunities that exist on the continent.

Speaking at the conference, Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko challenged industrialised nations to honour their pledges of financing climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes in developing countries.

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