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Mauritius Prime Minister Urges Support For Climate-smart Development In Africa

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth has harped on need to support climate-smart development in Africa.

This year’s edition of the African Economic Conference (AEC) opened today in Balaclava, the capital city of the island nation of Mauritius with a strong call for Africa to adopt smart technologies to tackle what speakers described as ‘the looming climate change threat’ to the continent.

Jugnauth made the observation while speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference, which was jointly organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

He said supporting climate-smart development in Africa is extremely pertinent, adding that climate change is a looming threat to Africa. “The continent is the most vulnerable region to climate disasters”, he said.

He also stressed how the rise in petroleum prices caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine war should quicken Africa’s motivation to shift away from fossil fuels and become self-sufficient in electricity production.

“In order to face the challenges of climate change more effectively Africa needs the support and assistance of development partners”, he added.

The largest pan-African economic meeting is being held under the theme, “Supporting Climate-smart Development in Africa”. It is bringing together various stakeholders – policymakers, climate experts, the private sector, researchers, and youth, to discuss and draft an action plan to support the low-carbon and climate-resilient development of Africa.

In her remarks, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa at the UNDP, Ahunna Eziakonwa emphasized that Africa’s path to attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDPs) must be climate smart.

“In 2022, we have seen a climate emergency hitting with increasing intensity. At the same time, climate-change-induced drought is precipitating hunger and even famine in regions such as the Horn of Africa. Protecting the planet cannot be an option, it is an urgent priority”, she further explained.

Speaking on the recently concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27), Eziakonwa noted that while COP27 in Egypt did not achieve the drastic reduction in emissions that the world needs, it did see the establishment of funding arrangements for loss and damage.

She told participants about a new partnership between the Global Environment Facility, the UNDP, the AfDB and the Rocky Mountain Institute, noting that together they will support new solar battery mini-grid markets in 21 countries in Africa.

Similarly, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Dr. Hanan Morsy observed that the theme of this year’s conference provides the opportunities to digest and synthesize the discussions at COP 27 and propose recommendations for supporting climate-smart development in Africa.

“Africa needs to close huge development gaps by investing substantially in key sectors such as energy, agriculture, transport, water, and cities, among others.

These sectors are all very vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change”, she stressed. Meanwhile, the ECA is working with partners to support the development of just energy transition plans in many African countries, tapping the continent’s abundant clean energy resources. It is also working with African Export-Import Bank, the Africa Finance Cooperation, the AfDB, and other partners to leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area to use Africa’s abundant clean energy resources to transform the continent’s minerals.

The idea, according to her is to support regional and global value chains related to the global drive for net zero emissions.

In a speech read on behalf of the President of AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, by the Acting Chief Economist and Vice-President of the bank, Prof. Kevin Urama, underscored the urgency of Africa adapting to climate change.

“Africa is suffering from the devastating effects of climate change, from droughts, floods, irregular rainfall, locusts, and armyworms. Supporting climate-smart, environmentally friendly development is one step in the right direction”, he stated.

Estimates show that Africa suffers $7-15 billion per year in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) losses to climate change, which are projected to rise to $45-50 billion per year by 2040.

During COP27, the AfDB and its partners launched the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa to speed up the development of green infrastructure in Africa.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=83736

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