Africa must take decisive efforts to entirely eliminate all illegal outflows, whether tax or other forms of money smuggled out of the continent.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein made these remarks at the ongoing Africa Climate Summit being attended by African leaders, investors and some of the world’s most outspoken climate change activists in Nairobi, Kenya.
The event, which runs from 4-6 September, has been organised to discuss Africa’s increasing exposure to climate change and its associated costs as well as to share experiences and solutions for a sustainable, resilient Africa ahead of COP28.
The three-day Summit focuses on the theme, ‘Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World’.
“For a very long time we have looked at this as a problem. There are immense opportunities as well,” said Kenyan President William Rutoof the climate crisis, when addresses delegates during the official opening of theSummit, speaking of multibillion-dollar economic possibilities, new financial structures, Africa’s huge mineral wealth and the ideal of shared prosperity. “We are not here to catalog grievances.”
And yet there is some frustration on the continent about being asked to develop in cleaner ways than the world’s richest countries — which have long produced most of the emissions that endanger climate — and to do it while much of the support that has been pledged hasn’t appeared.
Schlettwein told delegates that, “Our natural endowment must generate the commensurate rate of return needed to achieve our prosperity targets. We cannot continue to sell our minerals, metals and other natural assets for what others determine.”
He said in order to reach prosperity, Africa must exploit its agricultural, conserve its biodiversity potential and create a return.
He stated that investments in green industrialisation potential in Africa, such as green hydrogen, solar power, and hydro power, must be de-risked.
The Namibian Minister emphasised that Africa is paying a premium for de-risking, which is primarily based on perceived risk and often costs one-third of the overall project cost.
According to the United Nations, Africa contributes for only two to three percent of global carbon emissions yet has been the most affected by global warming.
Schlettwein said the current international financial architecture is showing its age and is no longer capable of dealing with a globalised world, and that the debt crisis, exchange trends, and weaponisation of financial rules are fueling inequality and making future prospects for developing economies difficult.
“Africa is again the hardest hit by inflationary pressures with food and fuel prices climbing beyond affordability thresholds for large sections of the population. This is especially relevant for Africa with its youthful population where a conducive economic climate for quality economic growth and job creation is much needed to ensure prosperity for our children,” he explained.
The Minister said financing gaps for addressing climate change and related water cycle issues remain considerable, adding that the suggestion to increase domestic financial resources is critical, but it is not a panacea.
He said Africa is confronting a worldwide water problem that necessitates global solutions, notably the financial requirements for the water agenda.
To address these numerous facets, Schlettweinsaidprioritising financial resources for the water sector, accelerating mobilisation of funds from domestic sources, and insisting on a dedicated fund within the climate funding agenda addressing the water crisis are all issues that must be resolved amicably.
“The US$30 billion a year by 2030 in additional financing towards water supply security and sustainable sanitation in Africa could be used as a minimum benchmark figure, but more importantly Africa’s prosperity should become the benchmark, that is how much is needed to become a prosperous Africa.”
According to the Science Direct database, catastrophic weather events in Africa have killed at least 4,000 people and impacted 19 million people since the beginning of 2022.
The United Nations also calculated that climate change costs Africa between $7 billion and $15 billion every year.
African nations need to generate an average of $124 billion every year to assist offset the consequences of climate change, but they have only received a quarter of that amount $28 billion.
Schlettwein stated that increasing climate-resilient investments in water can only be fully evaluated if the world acknowledges that it is facing a three-pronged global catastrophe.
He stated that the repercussions of climate change are now abundantly obvious, and that the world is in a water crisis due to the catastrophic effects of climate change on the water cycle.
“Over and above, it makes secure water supply more difficult, more expensive and often out of reach for developing countries,”Schlettweinsaid.
“The fresh water cycle is in crisis with ripple effects into food security, health and sanitation and development as a whole being placed in jeopardy.”
He went on to say that it also concerns biodiversity and conservation because no life exists without water.
As a result, he stated, the architecture of the climate change agenda must be modified to include water as an equally important part in the climate change agenda, which must include water sector finance.
He also addressed political unrest, which he believes is on the upswing.
Schlettwein said that the United Nations’ multilateral system is fundamentally skewed and no longer fit for purpose, with the mass of global people excluded from decision-making.
“Our own AU lacks the decisiveness to address continental political instability,” he stressed.
Schlettwein pointed out that funding wars wastes all of the monies required to meet the climate change agenda.
The Minister stated that shortage of economic and other resources, including water, increases the likelihood of conflict, and that the capacity to resolve transboundary issues becomes less likely when political instability is on the rise. After all, we cannot progress without political stability.
“Our ambitions to address and bring about prosperity for all and specifically secure water supply for all, to provide sanitation to enable development and decent urban and rural living standards for all are impacted on by these global trends and I urge you to factor them into our agenda.”