Building forward for an African green recovery
Africa is in the eye of a triple storm. The last half decade has been extremely challenging from a climate perspective: from Cyclone Idai in Mozambique to heavy snowfalls in North Africa, and from desert locusts and fall armyworm ravaging crops across East and Southern Africa to floods in Ghana and other countries in West Africa, the repercussions of climate change have been felt across the continent. On the economic front, Africa is facing its first recession in 25 years as a result of the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 75 per cent of countries on the continent went into lockdown in 2020, while tourism receipts, remittances from abroad and government revenues all collapsed. Despite that challenge, Africa has demonstrated considerable resilience, owing in large part to the buffers established by many governments prior to the crisis and the support provided by the Group of 20, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and multilateral development banks. The perfect storm puts Africa at a crossroads of development, with the already-high costs associated with that storm increasing steadily for African countries. Immediate bold action is needed across all fronts to launch a response, recovery, and reset programme. Despite its satisfactory response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa has lost over 30 million jobs, poverties are once again on the rise, and debt pressures are mounting. A swift and bold response is needed to address the devastating impact of the climate, health and economic crises. African finance ministers have called for an injection of external assistance of $100 billion each year for the next three years to close the financing gap of more than $345 billion identified by the IMF. Finally, for climate, health, and the economy, one thing is clear: the entire international community must cooperate to reset and rebuild a stronger multilateral framework to respond to global crises and provide equitable, just and transparent processes and systems for the management and implementation of rapid, monitorable solutions. Without such an approach, African development aspirations, as set out in national development plans, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 of the African Union, will not be attained.