top of page
  • Writer's picturebird story agency

World Bank tells Africa: Invest in climate adaptation to achieve economic growth

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

The recent World Bank report urges African countries to increase their investment in climate adaptation lest they miss out on their development goals.

Bonface Orucho, bird story agency.

As African nations push for more climate financing at the ongoing COP 27, a series of reports by the World Bank underscores the urgent need for African countries to invest more in climate change adaptation.

In the Country Climate and Development Reports released between October 27 and November 3, the World Bank highlights the close link between climate change and economic development considerations in African countries. They also outline priority actions and financing needs and recommend investments in infrastructure to strengthen climate resilience while supporting economic growth.

The report shows that Malawi, Rwanda and South Africa are highly susceptible to climate change disasters that will hinder new developments or deconstruct existing establishments.

"Malawi's pathway to economic growth is persistently halted by climate shocks, leaving many millions trapped in poverty for many decades," said Hugh Riddell, World Bank Country Manager for Malawi, in a statement during the release of the report.

According to Riddell, the consistent development blockages Malawi is experiencing due to climate shocks pose a threat to development and the realisation of the country's Vision 2063.

World Bank tells Africa: Invest in climate adaptation to achieve economic growth

Besides the risk of experiencing an increase in household poverty levels, Malawi's GDP could plunge by an estimated "3 to 9 per cent by 2030, 6 to 20 per cent by 2040, and 8 to16 per cent by 2050 if the climate shocks continue."

In Eastern Africa, the report notes that climate change places Rwanda's economic development on a risky path as its economy relies on climate-sensitive sectors.

According to Rolande Pryce, the World Bank's Country Manager for Rwanda, the Eastern African country is well ahead of many other countries in responding to challenges from climate change.

It would, however, need to invest more in nature-smart resource development projects, especially those focused on water infrastructure development, sustainable forestry and low-carbon energy transport.

"Implementing Rwanda's adaptation and mitigation commitments would substantially dampen the GDP volatility resulting from increased weather variability," said Pablo Cesar Benitez, the Bank's Senior Environment Economist for Rwanda.

The report is, however, confident that the power-starved South Africa can build an inclusive, resilient and sustainable economy. Simultaneously, it can free itself from coal-intensive energy dependence by implementing a low-carbon transition, harnessing investment in new technologies to manage the protracted energy crisis and ensuring a just transition.

Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank's Country Director for South Africa, identifies renewables as the cheapest, most reliable and quickest solutions to increase electricity supply, thus could reduce the strain on existing power generation capacity.

"Adding more power to the grid is needed to address the chronic power generation deficit that leads to rolling blackouts, harming productivity and economic growth," Marie-Nelly explained.

Financing these recommendations remains a hurdle, with the report noting that the "three transitions could cost around R8.5 trillion (about $500 billion) between 2022 and 2050, of which R2.4 trillion ($140 billion) would be needed before 2030," the report read in part.

Private financing is highlighted as a critical source of funding for renewable projects. It can be optimised through systemic reforms in the domestic financial market and the private-public partnership framework.

Other financing options include lobbying external financiers and collaborating with regional and international multinationals to support renewable investments.

The report recommended that West and Central African countries in the Sahel region fast-track economic growth and development while prioritising climate adaptation.

Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal could have about 13.5 million people plunging into acute poverty by 2050 due to climate-related shocks, thus the call for urgent investment in climate adaptation.

Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Vice President for Western and Central Africa, noted in a press conference during the release of the report that the region is already hard hit by floods and droughts that could intensify with time unless urgent actions are undertaken.

"With the population projected to double to 160 million people over the next 20 years, Sahel countries need to accelerate growth and prioritise climate adaptation if they are to realise the demographic dividend and set the region on a sustainable inclusive growth pathway," he explained.

The report estimated that Morocco would need a total investment of $78 billion in the MENA region for it to be "firmly on a resilient and low carbon pathway by the 2050s."

The report from Morocco identifies three areas of climate adaptation investment, including tackling water scarcity and droughts, enhancing resilience to floods, and decarbonising the economy.

Morocco's CCDR indicates that "Reaching a net-zero emission target by the 2050s would have an estimated cost of $52.8 billion."

bird story agency.


bottom of page