Africa Climate Business Plan

As climate change and variability significantly impact Sub-Saharan Africa’s development agenda, a new World Bank plan outlines actions required to increase climate resilience and low-carbon development in an effort to maintain current and protect future growth and poverty reduction goals.

Noting that climate drives most of the shocks that keep or bring African households into poverty, Accelerating Climate-Resilient and Low-Carbon Development: The Africa Climate Business Plan aims to both bring attention to and accelerate resource mobilization for priority climate-resilient and low-carbon initiatives in the region.

The consequences of climate change for Africa are devastating and threaten to push millions of people into extreme poverty by 2030, largely due to lower crop yields and higher food prices, and negative health impacts” says Benoit BosquetWorld Bank Practice Manager in the Environment & Natural Resources Global Practice“In light of the huge financing gap and the need for urgent action, the World Bank prepared the Africa Climate Business Plan as an important step in mobilizing climate finance to fast-track Africa’s climate adaptation needs in the context of development priorities.”

According to the plan, climate-related factors will make harder for African countries to tackle extreme poverty in the future for three reasons:

  • Warming is unavoidable as a result of past emissions of greenhouse gases, which will cause the loss of cropland, a decline in crop production, worsening undernourishment, higher drought risks and a decline in fish catches
  • Further warming may materialize, which will have disastrous consequences for the region in the form of heat extremes, increased risk of severe drought, crop failures every two years, a 20% reduction in major food crop yields, and, by the end of the century, up to 18 million people affected by floods every year
  • Considerable uncertainty on what the warming impact will be on local weather patterns and hydrological cycles, which pose formidable challenges for development planning, and for the design of projects related to water management such as irrigation and hydropower, and more generally climate-sensitive infrastructure such as roads or bridges

To tackle the climate challenge in collaboration with African governments and a variety of regional and international partners, the plan focuses on increasing adaptation through a dozen priority areas grouped into three clusters;

  • Strengthening resilience, which includes initiatives aimed at boosting the continent’s natural capital (landscapes, forests and oceans), physical capital (cities and transport infrastructure), and human and social capital, including improving social protection for the more vulnerable against climate shocks and addressing the climate-related drivers of migration
  • Powering resilience, which includes opportunities to increase low-carbon energy sources as societies with inadequate energy sources are more vulnerable to climate shocks, and
  • Enabling resilience by providing essential data, information and decision-making tools for promoting climate-resilient development across sectors through strengthening hydro-met systems at the regional and country level, and through building the capacity to plan and design climate-resilient investments.

Current levels of funding for adaptation are about $3 billion per year, which is insufficient to finance current needs, and is not increasing at the necessary rate to meet future needs. The plan estimates that the near to medium term implementation will cost about $19.3 billion to be raised by 2020,  $8.5 billion of which is expected to come from the International Development Association (IDA), and the rest from a variety of sources, including bilateral and multilateral sources, dedicated climate finance sources, and the private sector. The plan also notes that further results could be achieved by 2025 at a cost of about $21 billion. 

To reduce the risk posed to their development prospects by climate variability and change, African countries need to strengthen the resilience of their natural, physical, and human capital. Natural capital can be protected by making farmland, landscapes, watersheds, and oceans more resilient. Physical capital can be preserved by adopting smart climate policies for cities and coastal areas, which are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Human capital can be protected by boosting social protection and addressing the drivers of migration. This part of the business plan provides detailed proposals in each of these areas.

Natural Capital


Physical Capital


Human Capital

Some 600 million people and 10 million small and medium-size enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa still do not have a connection to the electric grid. In many countries, power systems are small and poorly maintained by utilities that often operate at a deficit. As a result, many energy users on and off the grid rely on fossil energy sources for lightning or heating. These sources are more expensive and produce significantly fewer productivity gains for consumers than modern energy sources.
In response, the Bank has committed to the objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative by 2030. These objectives include providing universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

To enable countries to increase their resilience to the effects of climate change, the Africa Climate Business Plan proposes strengthening Africa’s hydro-meteorological programs and establishing an Africa Climate-Resilient Investment Facility. These two initiatives will strengthen the data and knowledge base for integrating climate variability and change in a variety of decision-making processes at the local, national, and regional scales.

The Africa Climate Business Plan envisages mobilizing and deploying some $19.3 billion of fast-track financing and $21 billion in longer-term support. The financing plan and the results framework outlined in this section would allow the World Bank and its many partners to implement the plan.

Financing Plan


The financing plan estimates the resources required to implement the Africa Climate Business Plan (in both the fast-track and longer-term phases) and identifies possible sources of funding for the fast-track phase. The activities included in the plan are “in the pipeline”: they have not yet been approved by the governing bodies of the financiers (although in several cases project preparation is nearing completion).

Results Framework


The Africa Climate Business Plan is expected to mobilize resources and increase resilience to climate variability and change. The plan’s contribution to resource mobilization will be measured by two indicators. The first is the share of resources mobilized at various stages of implementation.

The targets are for 25 percent of funding to be mobilized by June 2017 (end of IDA17), 50 percent by December 2018 (mid-term of IDA18), and 75 percent by June 2020 (end of IDA18).


Raffaello Cervigni
Rome, Italy
Lead Environmental Economist
Benoit Bosquet
Washington DC
Practice Manager
Dania Mosa
Washington DC
Natural Resources Management Specialist