Adesina unveils AfDB’s plan to avoid food crisis due to Russia-Ukraine war
Charles Mkoka, Accra (Ghana)
No fewer than 3,000 delegates and other participants are in Accra the Ghanaian capital to be part of the 2022 annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group.
The meetings which hold between May 23 to 27, would spotlight climate resilience and energy transition under the theme, “Achieving Climate Resilience and a Just Energy Transition for Africa”, as it would also provide opportunity for the organization to take stock of progress with its shareholders, provide a unique forum for representatives of governments, business, civil society, think-tanks, academia, and the media, to discuss key issues concerning Africa’s ongoing development.
Speaking on the opening day at the event held at the Accra International Convention Centre, AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina said the theme of the annual meeting: Achieving Climate Resilience and a Just Energy Transition for Africa”, is all about people.
Explaining this, he said a lot of Africans he said are affected every day by climate change, majority of whom are women, with most of their lives being affected by lack of electricity.
This, he captured in a picture of a kid struggling to read with candles or lanterns, or the occasional streetlight in the neighborhood, to a mother who straps her baby on her back, using fuelwood and charcoal to cook, yet exposing herself and her child to effects of fumes that endanger their lives.
According to Adesina, Africa is the least emitter in the world, accounting for only 4% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, yet the continent suffers disproportionately from the negative impacts of climate change, including increased frequency and intensity of droughts, cyclones, floods, compounded by desertification.
He cited the examples of the recent cyclones that have affected countries like Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi and the floods in KwaZulu Natal province in South Africa that caused massive devastation to infrastructure facilities and claimed lots of lives.
While counting the cost of climate change on Africa, the AfDB President said Africa suffers $7-15 billion per year in loss and damage as a result of climate change, which are projected to rise to $40 billion per year by 2030.
“Africa has no choice but to adapt to climate change,” Adesina said.
To support the continent in doing so, he said, “AfDB has doubled its financing for climate to $25 billion by 2025. Without any doubt, the AfDB is the leader on climate adaptation in Africa, and globally. The share of our climate finance dedicated to adaptation is 67%, the highest among all multilateral development Banks.”
He said the Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation are implementing the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, with the goal of mobilizing $25 billion in climate adaptation financing for Africa, adding that, “The Bank is also supporting countries to insure themselves against extreme weather events, through its Africa Disaster Risk Insurance Facility. Today, the facility is helping nine countries to pay for insurance premiums to protect themselves from effects of climate change.”
On the state of food security, the AfDB President said the institution has taken some key leadership strides, despite the consequences of climate change.
“Six years ago, I launched the Feed Africa strategy of the Bank. Our goal was to deliver climate resilient agricultural technologies at scale to farmers, and feed Africa. We are achieving incredible success. Our Feed Africa work has already benefitted over 76 million farmers with access to improved agricultural technologies. Our flagship program, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) has delivered climate smart seeds to 12 million farmers in 27 countries in just two years. We are helping farmers to beat climate change,” Adesina said.
To tackle the looming food crisis in Africa from the effects of the Russian-Ukraine war, AfDB and the African Union Commission have developed an Africa Emergency Food Production Plan. The $1.5 billion plan will be used to support African countries to produce food rapidly to ensure sustained supply.
“The plan will produce 38 million metric tons of food, including wheat, maize, rice, and soybeans. The total value of the additional food production is $12 billion. Our $1.5 billion investment will deliver $12 billion, a leverage factor of eight times. The plan will deliver climate-resilient agricultural technologies to 20 million farmers.”
I am delighted that the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank approved the $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility last Friday, May 20th, 2022, he made the announcement.
This follows a global convening by the Bank, in partnership with the African Union Commission, African Ministers of Finance, Ministers of Economy, Ministers of Agriculture, the African development finance institutions, UN agencies, developed countries around the world, and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.
“We agreed it is time to support Africa to produce its food. It is time to have food sovereignty. Food aid cannot feed Africa. Africa does not need bowls in hand; Africa needs seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally. Africa must feed itself with pride. There is no dignity in begging for food.” Adesina said.
He said AfDB is also spearheading Just Energy Transition for Africa as part of the switch to clean energy. This is as the Bank has not funded any new coal projects since 2009, as the no funding of coal has been formalized as a policy with our new Energy Policy approved by our Board of Directors, said the AfDB President.
“Africa has perhaps the world’s largest potentials for renewable energy sources, especially solar, hydro, geothermal and wind. AfDB is implementing the $20 billion Desert to Power initiative in the Sahel, to build 10,000 megawatts of solar power generation. This will provide electricity via solar for 250 million people and turn the Sahel into the largest solar zone in the world,” Adesina said.
The African Just Energy Transition Facility, will be used to support African countries to transition from heavy fuel oil and coal power plants to renewable energy baseload power systems.
“As we look at energy transition, we must ensure three imperatives. First, we must ensure access and affordability of electricity. Second, there must be security of supply. Third, gas must remain a critical part of the energy mix for Africa. Even if Sub-Saharan Africa triples its use of gas for energy, it will only contribute less than 0.67% to global carbon emissions,” the confidently speaking Adesina said.