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FEATURE STORY September 18, 2019

Africa’s Commitment to Building a Climate Resilient and Low Carbon Future


In São Tomé and Príncipe drainage structures are already being designed through cross-sectoral collaboration between the road and water sectors.

Photo: World Bank

This story is part of a series focusing on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and ambitious climate actions that countries are taking to bring about a low-carbon, climate-resilient transformation. It draws from projects being supported by the World Bank’s NDC Support Facility, a trust fund financed by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). This story also features adaptation and resilience as a core theme.


  • African countries could unlock major economic opportunities by delivering on their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as well as securing vital climate and development outcomes.
  • The World Bank’s NDC Support Facility is helping to mobilize resources to enhance African NDC targets on adaptation. These range from supporting the development of climate-smart agriculture investment plans in Mali, Morocco and Côte d'Ivoire to the innovative use of a web-Geographic Information Systems (GIS) decision-making support platform in São Tomé and Príncipe.



Climate change threatens to push millions of Africans into poverty by 2030 and unravel hard-won development gains.

They can unlock major economic opportunities for African countries. For instance, the total investment potential for clean energy based on existing national climate commitments in Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa is nearly $783 billion, with buildings and transportation accounting for about $652 billion and renewable energy generation for about $123 billion.

Securing strong adaptation and resilience outcomes are also critical to boost responses to the impacts that are already being felt. African countries are improving adaptation actions both nationally through their NDC commitments – all African NDCs submitted so far incorporate adaptation priorities - as well as regionally, through initiatives such as the Adaptation of African Agriculture, the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program and the African Food Security Leadership Dialogue.

The NDC Support Facility is supporting several projects in Africa focused on boosting the resilience of vulnerable populations through climate-informed development and delivering strong adaptation outcomes. Here are two transformative examples.


Climate-Smart Agriculture Investment Plans in Morocco, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali

Developing these plans has delivered three transformative impacts.

First, for people: the plans were developed with wide participation from across public, private, and civil society sectors and reflect their mutual interests in NDC implementation. The development process for the plans themselves helped align national and agriculture-specific development strategies, bringing on board these various stakeholders, and effectively helped streamline each country’s NDCs in policy planning and budgeting.

Second, for policies and the private sector: the original NDCs identified priority sectors but did not provide underlying analyses on the investment opportunities they represented. Through the development of the plans, quantitative modeling and assessments of climate change impacts were undertaken to identify and prioritize investment opportunities in adaptation. The robust data and analyses not only provide input into policy decision making but also paves the way for the private sector to assess the profitability of investments in climate-informed projects.

And third, for partnerships: the development of the investment plans helped forge stronger partnerships not just between national institutions such as the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and others, but among development partners and regional actors, by harmonizing initiatives for cross-sectoral investment planning and implementation. The climate-smart agriculture investment planning approach is now being scaled up in other African countries to operationalize the initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA), which was endorsed by 23 countries and the African Union.


Tools to Map Climate Vulnerabilities and Design Resilient Projects in São Tomé and Príncipe

Coastal settlements have burgeoned with limited land use planning, putting vital infrastructure, ecosystems, and local population at risk.

The country’s NDC strongly prioritizes improving capacities and tools for disaster risk management and increasing the resilience of key sectors including agriculture, fisheries and health. The government has also developed a multisector investment plan for climate action, with World Bank and Global Environment Facility support under the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program.

Through the NDC Support Facility the program also developed a decision-making support platform, which includes a web-Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tool. This provides information on climate risks based on vulnerability assessments across different sectors as well as on past, on-going and planned climate-resilient projects in the country. With this tool, government officials can incorporate climate risks when planning infrastructure such as roads and public buildings, ensuring that they are built at a safe distance from the shoreline.

In place since 2018, the platform is transforming the way planning and line ministries collaborate with each another. Institutions now have a common framework and standards for data sharing which is crucial for jointly planning and financing climate resilient infrastructure projects. Drainage structures are already being designed through cross-sectoral collaboration between the road and water sectors.

The platform is also helping donors identify investment opportunities that support adaptation actions in a variety of areas including those relating to the relocation of communities to safer zones, nature-based adaptation solutions, such as mangrove plantations, and building resilient transport infrastructure.


Project Leaders | Mali, Morocco, Côte d'Ivoire

Nabil H. Chaherli is a Lead Agriculture Economist at the World Bank. He can be reached at

David Olivier Treguer is a Senior Agriculture Economist at the World Bank. He can be reached at


Project Leaders | São Tomé and Príncipe

Naraya Carrasco is a Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist at the World Bank. She can be reached at

Nicolas Desramaut is a Senior Environmental Engineer at the World Bank. He can be reached at