Africa has already stepped up as a global leader when it comes to tackling the climate change crisis. Through efforts like the Common African Position, strategies for pursuing much-needed energy access with an emphasis on renewable energy, and ambitious, on-the-ground national and subnational green policies, Africa is demonstrating that it takes this existential threat seriously. Moreover, Africa’s resources will be pivotal in the fight: For example, its forests and marine resources provide essential carbon sinks for the world, and 70 percent of the world’s cobalt—an essential mineral for battery production—is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone.
The collective response from the region reflects the urgency of the issue: Despite contributing least to the problem, Africa is experiencing the worst effects—not only in increased natural disasters, but also in cascading impacts like food insecurity, migration, and decelerated economic growth. COP26 in Glasgow fell short of taking—let alone promising to take—the necessary actions to prevent further warming and mitigate future disasters.
In celebration of Earth Day and as part of the ongoing Foresight Africa event series, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative hosted a discussion on climate change in Africa—including energy transition, local action, and climate finance, among other topics—as well as the implications and hopes for COP27—“Africa’s COP”—to be held in Egypt later this year.
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Senior Program Specialist - International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
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