KINSHASA, November 16, 2023 — Possessing half of Africa's forests, large freshwater resources, and mineral reserves that are critical for a green transition, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has the potential to contribute to global climate action and establish itself as a "climate solutions country" while generating revenues to enhance its own climate resilience and sustainable low-carbon growth. To do so, the country must build stronger and more resilient institutions, address increased conflict and fragility situations, and invest substantially to achieve its ambitious climate goals, according to the World Bank’s new Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) for the DRC.
Climate change could reverse DRC's hard‑won gains in human capital, with a disproportionate impact on the poor, and especially on women and excluded populations.
If DRC stays on its current growth trajectory and no action is taken, climate change could result in between 4.7% and 12.9% of lost gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050. Under the most pessimistic of climate scenarios, an additional 16 million people could be pushed into poverty by 2050 if the country does not implement climate‑resilient investments and additional inclusive policies to achieve economic growth and sustainable livelihoods.
As a steward of large forest, DRC's forest cover has important impacts on global and domestic ecosystem services. DRCs forests can generate an estimated value of $223 billion – 398 billion per year from stored carbon and associated ecosystem services needed to mitigate the impacts of disasters and enhance the resilience of DRC communities. However, if not protected, the loss of 40% of its current extent, could mean that DRC's Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector becomes a net source of carbon and no longer a sink. The total cost to the world of such a loss in carbon stock—and therefore the capacity of the forests to provide carbon sequestration services—would be about $95.3 billion.
“DRC could become the leading ‘climate solutions country’ in Africa and beyond, with its enormous reserves of green minerals, pristine forests, and hydro power capacity. Stronger, more resilient institutions and substantial financing are needed to fulfil this ambition, while the country should also address its own climate risks and pursue sustainable, low-carbon, more diversified growth,” said Albert Zeufack, World Bank Country Director for DRC.
Achieving DRC’s resilient and inclusive development vision will require building resilient infrastructure, increasing food security, and enhancing energy access.
Based on adaptation actions modelled in the report, initial public investments needed to partially offset climate change risks are estimated at around $10.9 billion by 2050, mainly to build improved transport infrastructure, bring cooling options for health impacts on labor productivity, and reduce risks to infrastructure and livelihoods from urban flooding. Additional investments will be needed to ensure adaptation measures are integrated in areas such as agriculture and landscape management, health, adoption of clean cooking practices to reduce deforestation, water sanitation, urban planning, and nature‑based climate solutions. Several measures that advance development and climate resilience can also slow greenhouse gases’ emissions, mainly by enhancing natural carbon sinks through investments in land restoration and forest protection.
“Significant financial resources are needed to implement climate change resilience and adaptation in DRC, with further investment required from the private sector to ensure the country is able to achieve its development,” said Malick Fall, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Country Manager for DRC. “IFC is working with the private sector to support increased financing and technical assistance, particularly in the renewable energy and climate-smart agribusiness sectors.”
The World Bank Group CCDR, the first of its kind for DRC, aims to support the country’s efforts to achieve its development goals within a changing climate by quantifying the impacts of climate change on the economy and laying out a path to robust, climate-resilient and sustainable growth.
The report sets out four urgent action areas. All four action areas are relatively affordable now, but would cost substantially more if implemented later, according to the authors. These include:
- Implementing the vision of DRC as a “climate solutions country" by investing in climate smart mining, hydropower development, forest preservation, and integrated landscape management;
- Increasing agricultural productivity and food security through climate-smart agriculture and support to farmer‑led irrigation;
- Developing climate resilient transport and cities, enhancing digital access, and improving access to basic services; and
- Enhancing governance and boosting human capital by reducing poverty, increasing social inclusion, and enhancing security.
About Country Climate and Development Reports (CCDRs)
The World Bank Group’s Country Climate and Development Reports (CCDRs) are new core diagnostic reports that integrate climate change and development considerations. They will help countries prioritize the most impactful actions that can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and boost adaptation, while delivering on broader development goals. CCDRs build on data and rigorous research and identify main pathways to reduce GHG emissions and climate vulnerabilities, including the costs and challenges as well as benefits and opportunities from doing so. The reports suggest concrete, priority actions to support the low-carbon, resilient transition. As public documents, CCDRs aim to inform governments, citizens, the private sector, and development partners and enable engagements with the development and climate agenda. CCDRs will feed into other core Bank Group diagnostics, country engagements and operations, and help attract funding and direct financing for high-impact climate action.