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Africa Climate Business Plan

Sub-Saharan African countries are urgently addressing intensifying climate risks by strengthening their ability to adapt to erratic weather patterns, rising sea levels, and dwindling water supplies. They are also investing in the resilience of their people, their infrastructure, and their economies.   

Supported by the World Bank’s Africa Climate Business Plan (ACBP), a galvanizing platform for climate action that finances some 176 projects totaling of $17 billion dollars, the region is working towards increasing the pace of low-carbon development while coping with the impacts of climate change.  

Scientists, academics, donor partners and government officials have reached consensus that climate resilience must be mainstreamed in national development plans as well as international agreements if future inclusive growth, sustainable development, and poverty reduction goals are to be met.

 Now in its third year, the ACBP has become a critical support mechanism that is helping client countries institutionalize climate action and meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted under the Paris Agreement. The Bank is working directly with eight countries —Rwanda, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Namibia, Uganda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Kenya—on their NDCs on adaptation, mitigation and resilience. In Uganda, the first African country to have an NDC Partnership Plan, the Bank is supporting work on systemic shifts to institutionalize change at scale by embedding climate budget tagging and climate risk screening into national processes.

Since its launch in 2016, the ACBP has delivered significant results ahead of schedule, particularly in areas of climate-smart agriculture, integrated watershed management, ocean economies, social development and renewable energy. In 2018, the World Bank Board approved of 68 projects for a bank commitment of $8.21 billion.

Yet the stakes are higher than ever before. The data is sobering and recent projections and modeling for climate change impacts are increasingly grim. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report concluded with high confidence that global warming will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius sometime between 2030 and 2050. As many of the ACBP goals have been met, the stakes are changing and together, the World Bank and African countries are moving quickly to stay ahead of these risks.

Mozambique’s Integrated Landscape Management Portfolio (ILM) is helping to mobilize commercial resources for agriculture and forest value chains, leveraging private equity for protected area management and promoting partnerships between the private sector and communities.

The Senegal Saint Louis Emergency Recovery and Resilience Project seeks to reduce the vulnerability of populations to coastal hazards—including floods that have already reached inside their schools and homes—along the Langue de Barbarie and strengthen urban and coastal resilience planning of the city of Saint-Louis.

The recently approved $225 million West Africa Coastal Areas (WACA) investment program will support six countries and four regional institutions as they reduce climate risks and will benefit from the recently launched WACA Platform which will mobilize public, private and civil society partners for scaling up knowledge and finance.

The Nachtigal Hydropower Project in Cameroon is not only crowding in private capital and reducing public debt but also lowering the overall costs of service for electricity as the country starts meeting its energy demand through renewable sources.

Climate-Smart Agriculture in Zambia: Under the $36 million Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) Project through  the Climate Investment Funds, threatened communities living in the sub-basins, where about one third of Zambians now live, are benefitting the most from these resilience focused investments. Climate resilience has been mainstreamed through the government’s Seventh National Development Plan to support the sectors most vulnerable to climate change.

Why is the Africa Climate Business Plan so important when African countries face so many other challenges?

Inclusive development, improved health and well-being, and growing economies all go hand-in-hand. There are no livelihoods or growth without healthy oceans, renewable energy, bountiful natural resources, and vital ecosystems.

Several recent World Bank studies have underscored the adverse impacts from climate change on ecosystems, livelihoods and people in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018: Building a Sustainable Future notes that Sub-Saharan Africa saw a decline in per capita forest and agricultural land wealth. Degradation of natural resources coupled with the mounting evidence of impacts of climate change—on water, drylands, cities, agriculture, and migration—will have grave consequences on Africa’s development.

What is an example of how environmental issues can negatively impact health, welfare or the economy?

Uncharted Waters: The New Economics of Water Scarcity and Variability presents evidence on how the impacts of water scarcity and drought may be even greater than previously projected, causing long-term, intergenerational harm in ways that have previously been ignored or inadequately documented. For example, the study reveals that children born during severe droughts in rural Africa suffer adverse health effects throughout their lives with direct consequences for their offspring, who are much more likely to suffer from malnutrition as well.

What do people mean when they talk about climate “hotspots” in Africa?

The Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration report projects that by 2050, the number of climate migrants in Sub-Saharan Africa could reach up to 86 million under the pessimistic reference scenario; and the region will see an emergence of “hotspots” of climate in- and climate out-migration as a consequence of lower water availability, loss in crop productivity, and rising sea level and storm surges. Climate change impacts will interact in multiple and complex ways with other megatrends unfolding in the region.

Hotspots are concentrated areas of climate vulnerability as extreme weather intensifies. By 2050, Africa will account for the highest population growth with an additional 1.3 billion people living on the continent, representing just over half of the added global population (UN, 2017). The growth in African countries is driven by a surging population, increasing levels of education, and technology absorption. Whether Africa’s demographic surge is more of an opportunity or a crisis in part depends on how governments harness key factors, including the potential of youth and the participation of women in the labor force.  

The World Bank’s Africa Climate Business Plan (ACBP) has proven to be a galvanizing platform for climate action in the region.

Kanta Kumari Rigaud
Washington DC
Lead Environmental Specialist
Benoit Bosquet
Washington DC
Director of Environment and Natural Resources