This discussion was part of the second gathering of the North and West Africa Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE). Participants analyzed the effects of climate change on both regions, explored realistic ways for nations to adapt and protect their energy and food supplies while continuing to expand, and offered some crucial suggestions.
Twenty-two North and West African countries sent representatives, scholars, and development professionals to the summit, where they tackled three pressing issues:
The effects of climate change and how they affect plans for economic and social progress.
Energy security and climate change challenges, and especially the critical role of renewable energy in addressing the requirements of the people.
How intra-African commerce may help speed up the energy and agricultural transition, particularly by bolstering food security and promoting the development of sub-regional value chains in the agricultural sector.
It is anticipated that water scarcity might affect up to 71% of GDP and 61% of the population in North Africa, whereas these figures are 22% and 36%, respectively, for the rest of the globe. However, there are still options available, according to Zuzana Brixiova Schwidrowski, Director of the ECA office for North Africa. “By relying on renewable resources, we can not only address these challenges but also accelerate sustainable economic development and social development in the region, along with poverty reduction, job creation, and social equity,” she said.
Twenty percent of Africa’s population, compared to the global average of 9.8 percent, suffers from food insecurity, making it a structural problem. According to Ngone Diop, head of the ECA’s West African office, “in this context, three imperatives are evident: increasing agricultural and cereal productivity; mobilizing more domestic resources; and expediting the implementation of the AfCFTA, which serves as our cornerstone for poverty reduction and the acceleration of structural transformation.”
Africa is profoundly impacted by climate change despite its relatively small contribution to the issue. Climate change already affects 2–9% of national budgets across the continent, and 17 of the 20 countries most at risk are in Africa. Increasing temperatures of 1.5°C to 3°C are projected, and this poses a severe threat to the health, productivity, and food security of the populations of North Africa and West Africa, as reported in the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
As a result, African countries are forced to devote a greater share of their public finances to mitigation efforts and population protection, cutting back on their ability to finance development, protect development gains, and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
These limitations highlight the critical need for Africa to develop novel growth models that can preserve and improve the well-being of their populations while adjusting to climate change and slowing its progression.
Land and water management within the context of sustainable agriculture, renewable energy to meet national energy needs across several sectors (transportation, industry, heating, cooling, etc.), and so on should all figure prominently in these models.