December 6, 2022

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Atlantic Council Panel on 2022 African Economic Outlook Pushes for ‘Africa agenda’ at COP 27

African Development Bank’s acting Chief Economist, Kevin Urama (second left) and other panelists at a seminar on the African Economic Outlook 2022, hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. 27 July 2022.

In a presentation on the report, Acting Chief Economist Urama called for policy coordination and a more holistic approach to tackling climate change.

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, July 29, 2022/ — Africa deserves the highest priority attention at the United Nations climate conference, COP 27 to be held in November this year,  panel members discussing the African Development Bank’s  (www.AfDB.org) African Economic Outlook 2022 (https://bit.ly/2Z1dRwt)  in an event hosted by the Atlantic Council, said on Wednesday.

A team from the  African Development Bank Group, led by Acting Chief Economist and Vice President Kevin Urama, is in Washington D.C. to present the African Economic Outlook 2022, a flagship publication of the Bank, to international thought leaders and other targeted bodies. Under the theme, Supporting Climate Resilience and a Just Energy Transition in Africa, this year’s report highlights climate change as a growing threat to lives and livelihoods in Africa. 

In a video message during one of the sessions, president and Chief Executive Officer of  Bezos Earth Fund, Andrew Steer, urged African and world leaders to think bolder and work more creatively together as they prepare for COP 27, which will take place in Egypt.

Steer, a former World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change believes that COP 27 gives the world an incredible opportunity to think big about Africa. “We need to make it Africa’s COP. So, what the African Development Bank and the Atlantic Council are trying to do to raise awareness is exceedingly important.”

He described the 2022 African Economic Outlook as ‘an excellent report.’ “It lays out beautifully this sobering time for Africa in particular, but actually for the whole world – a slowing world economy, the perfect storm of rising food prices and  energy prices,  interest rates, and shocking increases in the impact of climate change and green vulnerability at a time that international resources are not what they need to be.”

In a presentation on the report, Acting Chief Economist Urama called for policy coordination and a more holistic approach to tackling climate change.

“We have been losing 5% to 15% of GDP per capita growth in Africa because of climate change, and that is in addition to other issues that climate change is driving on the continent,” Urama said. “Amid these difficulties lie opportunities for innovation. Let’s think big, act big, and save the planet.”

“As we prepare for COP 27, honoring the 2009 $100 billion yearly climate finance commitment that high-income countries promised to developing countries will help to restore confidence that we are serious about climate change, even though it is not enough.”

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),  Tyler Beckelman, said the African Economic Outlook “cogently and convincingly captures the very real and urgent challenges to realizing a just energy transition in Africa.”

“Make no mistake- the crisis is already here,” Beckelman cautioned. “Four failed rainy seasons in the Horn of Africa- with a fifth likely to occur this summer- is a direct result of a warming climate, and sadly, it may become the norm.”

He said the United States would ensure that its African partners have the ability and resources to develop the foundation for a sustainable and low-carbon economy that provides ample energy for growth.

He added: “While the challenges are enormous, we see plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Sustained investments in adaptation and mitigation, through renewable energy and climate-smart land use practices, will help provide a pathway for African countries to develop innovative ways, building a more just and equitable future for people across the continent.”

Senior Director of the Atlantic Council,  Africa Centre, Rama Yade, observed that it has become more important to look at Africa and climate change.

The  event featured a panel discussion on the report, comprising Anthony Simpasa, Acting Manager of the African Development Bank’s Macroeconomic Policy, Debt Sustainability and Forecasting Division; Ayaan Adam, Senior Director and CEO of AFC Capital Partners at the Africa Finance Corporation; Jeffrey Krilla, Vice President for Global Public Policy and Government Affairs, Kosmos Energy; and Queen Quinn, Founding Partner at Kupanda Capital.

The African Economic Outlook report 2022 (https://bit.ly/2Z1dRwt) provides evidence-based policy options for driving inclusive growth by building climate resilience and a just energy transition in Africa.

The event was an opportunity to appraise policy stakeholders in Washington DC on the key findings of the report as well as discuss priorities and actionable recommendations in the preparation and run-up to COP27.

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