Category Archives: Africa

Women step forward in push to nurture African climate scientists

Screenshot_2020-01-14 Women step forward in push to nurture African climate scientists
Women farmers tend their fields at the Tjankwa Irrigation Scheme in Plumtree District, 100km west of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, September 18, 2014. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Busani Bafana

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, As a child, Kenyan meteorologist Saumu Shaka helped out on her parents’ small farm growing maize and pigeon pea – and learned how the weather can hold food producers hostage.

“Looking back, the yield has declined over the years,” said Shaka, 28, who works with the Kenya Meteorological Department.

A decade ago, her parents would get 25 sacks of maize from their six hectares in Taita Taveta County, southeast of Nairobi.

Today that has dwindled to five bags at most, because of erratic rainfall that can also spur crop-destroying pests.

As climate change fuels extreme weather and threatens harvests, Africa needs more scientific expertise to help small-scale farmers adapt, especially women who tend to be hit worst, said Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, director of Nairobi-based group African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD).

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), women represent nearly half of farmers in Africa and produce up to 80% of basic food crops.

They are also largely responsible for preparing, storing and processing food.

But in many cases, the FAO says, they have limited rights, mobility and access to resources, information and decision-making power, making them more vulnerable and less able to adapt to climate change impacts than men.

“This means women’s continued under-representation in climate change research is no longer acceptable,” said Kamau-Rutenberg, noting that few have opportunities in science education.

AWARD is leading the One Planet Fellowship, a new initiative that will train 630 African and European scientists to use a gender lens to help African smallholders adapt to climate shifts, unusually offering Africans the opportunity to serve as mentors.

Under-investment in African scientific research capacity means “we still don’t even know the specific ways climate change will manifest … in Africa,” said Kamau-Rutenberg.

In September, the three-year career development programme welcomed its first cohort of 45 fellows from Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi, Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Togo, Mali, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso – over half of them female.

The aim is to “set an example and dispel the myth that there are no African women scientists ready to step into leadership”, Kamau-Rutenberg added.

AWARD collaborates on the initiative, worth nearly $20 million, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, France’s BNP Paribas Foundation and Agropolis Fondation, the European Union and Canada’s International Development Research Centre.

‘FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE’

As one of the inaugural fellows, Shaka is seeking home-grown solutions to the challenges faced by farmers like her parents, who are battling to grow enough food on a warming planet.

Her research focuses on cost-effective “climate-smart” agribusiness techniques to help young people boost jobs and food security, which she will promote on social media platforms.

African scientists “have firsthand experience and solutions that are practical and applicable to their societal set-ups within their individual countries”, she said.

Women scientists, moreover, are better able to understand the specific challenges in designing community-tailored solutions to help fellow women, said the senior meteorologist.

Droughts and floods, for example, impose a health burden on women, who have to walk long distances in search of water and stay alert to the risk of waterborne diseases, she noted.

Pamela Afokpe, 27, an AWARD fellow from Benin, said “in-continent” experts could relate to the needs of African farmers more easily.

Afokpe, a vegetable breeder with East-West Seed International, is working to get more farmers growing indigenous leafy vegetables in West and Central Africa by helping them access high-yielding varieties resistant to pests and diseases.

Up to now, a limited number of African experts have contributed to the landmark scientific assessments published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which synthesises research and guides policymakers.

Out of 91 lead authors of the 2018 IPCC special report on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, only eight were from Africa, as were just a tenth of the 783 contributing authors.

South Africa’s Debra Roberts, co-chair of a working group for the IPCC ongoing sixth scientific assessment report and the first female co-chair from Africa, said the panel’s work showed tackling climate change required all of society to respond.

“Women have different lived experiences and views on the problems and solutions,” she said.

“We need to hear those voices if we are to be able to identify context-relevant solutions from the scientific literature. There is no one-size-fits-all,” she added.

Over the IPCC’s three decades of operation, there have only been three female co-chairs, two of them on the current report, she noted. “We have a long way to go still,” Roberts told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview.

ENERGY PRIORITIES

Women also need to be involved in the practical design of climate solutions, such as expanding off-grid solar power and clean cooking, which can reduce drudgery and minimise health issues linked pollution, said agricultural experts.

As forest loss and climate change make resources scarcer, women have to go longer distances to gather fuel-wood, which puts additional pressure on their time, health and personal security, said Katrin Glatzel, a research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Dakar, Senegal.

In Mali, a public-private partnership has provided 1.6 million people with more efficient stoves, reducing pollution by half compared to a traditional three-stone fire, she noted.

Glatzel said it was important to include and empower female scientists and farmers in the switch to cleaner, modern energy, so that their concerns could be addressed.

A 2019 survey by charity Practical Action in rural Togo found women prioritised energy for pumping drinking water and processing crops, while men favoured mobile-phone charging and heating water for washing, she noted.

In northern Benin, meanwhile, a solar-powered drip irrigation system means a cooperative of 45 women now fetches water one or twice a week rather than daily, she added.

Bringing women on board with technological innovation for rural energy services is key “to ensure that end products meet their needs and those of their families”, she said.

 

 

 

http://news.trust.org/item/20200113072646-hrp53/

Ivory Coast pledges trafficking crackdown as 137 child victims are rescued

Screenshot_2020-01-14 Ivory Coast pledges trafficking crackdown as 137 child victims are rescued
A child rescued by police from captivity, with strike marks on his back, bathes at the Hajj transit camp in Kaduna, Nigeria September 28, 2019. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

DAKAR,  Ivory Coast police on Monday vowed to ramp up efforts to stop child trafficking after rescuing 137 children from forced labour and sex work in the first major operation in several years.

Police surrounded the southeastern town of Aboisso for 48 hours last week and searched vehicles, cocoa plantations and nearby villages for children who were being forced to work or transported for purposes of trafficking, the government said.

The victims ranged in age from six to 17 and came from the nearby West African countries of Nigeria, Benin, Ghana and Togo, according to a statement.

Twelve traffickers were also arrested.

“We are going to multiply this kind of operation,” police superintendent Zaka Luc told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The operation, code-named “Bia III”, was the first since at least 2017 and followed the launch six months ago of a new national action plan against child labour, said Luc, deputy director in the anti-trafficking division.

The government said it hoped to “send a strong signal” to traffickers by raiding Aboisso, a hot spot.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, introduced its first national plan to end child labour in 2012, but the problem remains widespread in poor farming communities.

An estimated 890,000 children work in the cocoa sector, some for their parents and some trafficked from abroad, according to a 2018 report by anti-slavery organisation Walk Free Foundation.

Children are also trafficked to Ivory Coast for other types of work, such as mining and domestic servitude. Among the victims rescued last week were at least six Nigerian girls being trafficked for prostitution, said police.

The rescued children were placed in the care of a charity in Aboisso while investigations are under way to find their parents, the government said.

“Ivory Coast’s image is tarnished by child trafficking,” said Kouadio Yeboue Marcellin, deputy police chief in Aboisso.

“We are appealing to all parents. A child’s place is at school and not on plantations,” he said in a statement.

The number of police operations will depend on available funding, said Luc. This one was financed by the office of First Lady Dominique Ouattara, who has championed the cause.

The new action plan was praised by some cocoa industry executives last year for taking a wide-reaching approach to tackling the issue, including through investing in education and empowering women.

 

 

 

 

http://news.trust.org/item/20200113151823-3341s/

 

Traditional crops puff hopes for climate resilience in Kenya

Screenshot_2020-01-09 Traditional crops puff hopes for climate resilience in Kenya
Workers wash millet to prepare it for popping in Embu, Kenya, September 9, 2019. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Wesley Langat

EMBU, Kenya,  Two years ago, Michael Gichangi launched a business he hopes will help his rural community better cope with climate change stresses: making puffed cereal from climate-hardy traditional grains.

Using a $1,000 machine he bought, he pops millet – a drought-tolerant grain, but one not as widely eaten as staple maize – and turns it into a popular snack.

Over the last two years he has sold about $1,500 worth of the popped grain, and is the first in the district to have one of the machines, he said.

“I started popping millet to produce very delicious snacks, by mixing it with groundnuts, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon powder and simsim (sesame) oil”, he said.

The combination has won particular approval from students looking for an after-school snack, he said, and is now sold at the local Embu market.

As many households in sub-Saharan Afria struggle with poverty and food insecurity, climate change is hitting harvests and making life even harder.

But finding new markets for hardy grains that can better stand up to extreme weather and changing pests, and produce a reliable harvest, can help, agricultural scientists say.

Gichangi’s effort began when he joined a women-led agribusiness group in his village and started buying and selling traditional cereals such as millet, sorghum and green gram, all more drought-resilient alternatives to maize.

Previously, maize dominated farming in the area – but that dominance is gradually declining as weather extremes linked to climate change make getting a harvest more difficult, he and others said.

Patrick Maundu, an ethnobotanist at the National Museums of Kenya and an honorary fellow with Bioversity International, an organisation that promotes agricultural biodiversity, said millet is a traditional Kenyan crop – just one that, over the years, lost ground to maize.

The change came as a result of the intense promotion of maize production by governments, research groups and multinational companies selling products in Africa, he said.

“Millet is well adapted to dry parts of Africa but has been neglected because of … key policies focused on maize, taking over indigenous cereals,” he said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

But in the recent years, wilder weather linked to climate change and the high cost of farm inputs – which farmers can struggle to pay if harvests fail – has made maize farming less reliable, particularly for small-scale farmers like those in Embu, Maundu said.

That has pushed many farmers to diversify back into drought-resistant traditional crops.

The amount of farm acreage planted with maize in Kenya has fallen by about a quarter in recent years, according to data from Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture.

Still, finding a ready market for crops like millet – and getting people to resume eating them – can be a challenge.

Gichangi, an entrepreneur and millet farmer, said he realised that the key to making the new crops pay was adding value to what was harvested – hence the popping machine.

MORE JOBS, MORE RESILIENCE?

The puffed millet, besides being tasty, has boosted employment opportunities in Embu and helped reduce food waste because it can be stored longer, he said.

Stella Gathaka 30, who formerly worked as a food vendor, is now one of four workers at Gichangi’s small factory.

She said that, besides earning a salary, her new job allows her children to eat the millet snacks, which are more nutritious than their previous snack of sweet wheat biscuits.

These days, “I’m very knowledgeable on the importance of millet as a nutritious crop,” she said.

Daniel Kirori, operations director at DK Engineering Ltd., which assembles the popping machines, said his company had sold about 15 of them so far to women’s groups and other entrepreneurs around Kenya.

According to a 2017 United Nations report on the state of food security and nutrition, climate change pressures, from worsening droughts to floods, heatwaves and storms, are a key reason about 800 million people still lack access to enough food.

Liz Young, a senior researcher with the International Food Policy Research Institute noted in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation that Africa’s farmers urgently need help to adapt to the threats and grow enough to feed the continent’s rising population.

Producing more millet and other traditional hardy crops, and finding ways to process them to produce more income, is one way of doing that, Young said.

Emily Wawira, a small-scale millet farmer in Embu who sells her produce to Gichangi, said she sells 10 to 20 sacks of grain each year, each weighing 90 kilos, and earns $25 to $30 per sack.

That income “is enough to pay school fees,” she said – and an improvement on her former loss-making maize farming.

Gichangi’s millet snacks are slowly gaining ground on traditional favourites such as sugary wheat biscuits, his sales team said.

“It wasn’t easy popularising the products,” admitted Lucy Njeru, one of Gichangi’s saleswomen – though free samples helped.

Now, however, Gichangi has partnered with four local schools and an agricultural show to offer his healthier snacks.

Anthony Sawaya, Embu County’s director of trade and chief executive of the county Investment and Development Corporation, said his office is keen to help innovators like Gichangi access markets.

The county government, for instance, is promoting local foods at nearby and international trade fair exhibitions, he said.

 

Farmers in Zimbabwe facing severe droughts, hunger crisis, CRS says

FoodYoung girl in Zimbabwe. Credit: milosk50 / Shutterstock

.- As severe drought conditions continue in Zimbabwe, close to 7 million people are facing food shortages, a Catholic aid agency warned this week.

“Families have run out of options to put food on their tables,” said Dorrett Byrd, Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) regional director for Southern Africa.

With repeated droughts over the past five years, many of Zimbabwe’s small farmers have found themselves unable to feed their families. The United Nations estimates that nearly half of the 16 million people in the country are urgently in need of food aid, and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network ranks the country as experiencing a “Phase 3 food crisis,” signifying widespread acute malnutrition.

The droughts have increased in frequency and intensity due to climate change, Byrd said. In addition to widespread crop failure, inflation has decimated many families’ savings.

Byrd warned that the struggle to find food has led many young people to leave the country, adding, “Migrating parents often leave their young children behind with grandparents who struggle to provide for them.”

Catholic Relief Services is working with farmers in Zimbabwe to teach soil and water conservation methods. The agency is also offering drought-resistant crops to farmers and is cooperating with the government in a notification system warning farmers about threats to their harvest.

Even with these steps, however, Byrd warned that more action needs to be taken in order for the people of Zimbabwe to recover.

Other countries in the region are also facing an escalating hunger crisis. The Food and Agriculture Organization reports that more than 45 million people in Southern Africa are currently faced with food insecurity.

“This area of the world needs help and it needs help now,” Byrd said. “We hope the economic situation improves soon, but if climate change is not addressed, countries like Zimbabwe will continue to suffer.”

 

 

 

 

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/farmers-in-zimbabwe-facing-severe-droughts-hunger-crisis-crs-says-56240

Women African judges meet at Vatican to tackle ‘plague’ of human trafficking

Africa
Pope Francis meets with participants in a World Day of Reflection against Trafficking in Persons in Vatican City, Feb. 12, 2018. Credit: Vatican City

.- A group of around 50 women judges and prosecutors engaged in the fight against human trafficking and organized crime in Africa is meeting at the Vatican this week.

Hosted by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, the Dec. 12-13 meeting reprises a similar summit held in December 2018.

Pope Francis addressed the summit privately for around 10-15 minutes in the afternoon of Dec. 12.

Judith Wanjala told CNA Pope Francis addressed the problem of human trafficking, “urging us to take positive steps to deal with this problem, which is affecting the entire world, so many countries.”

Wanjala, who has heard human trafficking cases as a judge in Kenya for more than 30 years, added that Pope Francis’ encouragement of the summit is for her a sign of his strong feelings against trafficking.

She said she is participating in the gathering to share and to understand better what practices judges and prosecutors in other African countries are putting into place.

“I think it is important for everybody to understand what trafficking is, because it affects almost every aspect of society, not just as women but the entire judiciary, prosecutors, police, investigators, and the public,” she said. Everyone needs “to understand what human trafficking entails.”

One participating judge, who asked not to be identified, called human trafficking a “plague” in Africa.

Mina Sougrati, an administrative judge in Morocco, told CNA that Africa is very concerned about human trafficking.

She explained that the increase in illegal immigration to Europe has been contributing to the problem, especially in Morocco: “There’s a big market for human trafficking.”

“For me it’s very important, you know, that this issue is international. And everyone from society is concerned,” she said. “Judges are more concerned because it’s up to them to decide whether it’s a human trafficker or not.”

She added that these meetings are very important because they do not always have opportunities to gather as judges within one country, “let alone the whole continent of Africa.”

“So, when we are here, everyone, from each country, talks about the problems, whether there is a law or no law, what is the strategy of the country, are there institutions working on this issue or not. We try to exchange experiences.”

Sougrati noted that the group is very happy Pope Francis has decided to create a pan-African committee on the topic of human trafficking. “The pope has done a very good thing,” she said. “This is a very, very strong work; no country in the world has done it like this.”

“We thanked him for doing this. I felt from his discourse that he speaks from the bottom of his heart that judges must work on this.”

 

 

 

 

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/women-african-judges-meet-at-vatican-to-tackle-plague-of-human-trafficking-45924

Race of Fury – The West and the Soul of Africa Again

6C222A3A-F9CE-4A22-A54C-80031F286370

Holding summits for African heads of governments is fast becoming a recurrent event among the global power brokers. The EU has had about 5 of these summits, probably to massage and codify her colonial exploitative economic spree with Africa because nothing signfinicant has really emerged from those submits to enhance Africa’s fortune. Following the example of China in the recent past, Russia too had, for the first time, invited the African heads of governmens to a two-day Africa summit in Sochi from  23.-24 October, 2019. Over 40 African heads of government participated in the summit.

Just like China, Russia has the privilege of entering into the African political space as a non-colonialists but Russia had the added advantage of having supported African states in their struggle for independence. During the Cold War, it had close ties with socialist states like Guinea, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Angola. Those countries have now become the boosters for the rebuilding of Russian interest in Africa. Neither China nor Russia cares about human rights in Africa, but Russia in particular does not hide her thirst for arm sales, nor even shy away from helping autocratic regimes to sway national elections, as has been reported from DR Congo and Guinea while the Chinese unbriddled quest for mineral resources has no equal.

Obviously, both China and Russia are exploiting the vaccum created by the European colonialists from their lack of true and constructive commitment to Africa to market their respective products in Africa. But in the final analysis it is a race of fury for the control of Africa’s natural resources, the global digital economy and power.

The primary products offered to the African heads of governments by Russia during the most recent summit are worrisome. Among others, Russia has offered nuclear technology alongside weapons and mining expertise to Africa. As part of the summit, the Russian energy group Rosatom signed a preliminary agreement with Rwandato help her with the construction of an atomic research center and another contract with Ethiopia with the aim of building a high-performance nuclear power plant. Russia has granted Egypt a $ 25 billion loan for the construction of a nuclear power plant and is supplying enriched uranium for a research reactor. In South Africa. Rosatom had made a deal to build eight $75 billion nuclear power plants under former President Jacob Zuma, which was canceled after his removial from power. Truly, Africa needs power to drive her economic development but to suggest nuclear energy for Africa as an option considering its technical demands and environment threats is highly questionable and condenmnable. Rather than nuclear energy, is there no wisdom to suggest the development of the rich supply of sun and wind in Africa for solar and wind plants as alternatives for Africa that would be cheaper, cleaner and better.

However, it needs to be interrogated furher whether these summits are about the development of Africa or the exploitation and control of her resources. Like China and the European colonalists, Russia is fast leaving her foot print in Africa. In Guinea, Russian corporations exploit huge bauxite deposits and run a gold mine without paying taxes.

In Uganda, the Russian corporate group RT Global Resources is building an oil refinery for three billion Euros. Russian companies are planning platinum mines in Zimbabwe and want to develop one of the largest diamond deposits in Angola.

Russia could thus double its trade volume with Africa to $ 20 billion in 2019, though this remains modest when compared to China’s $ 300 billion.

Not only that, Russia is also strengthening its influence on the continent through military cooperation. Over the past four years, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with 19 African states, to supply weapons and training. 40% of all military exports to Africa come from Russia, 17% from China and 11% from the US. At the Sochi summit, Putin declared his intention to double arms exports to Africa and on the spot signed a contract with Nigeria to supply Mi-35 combat helicopters. In the Central African Republic Russia is very present with 200 military advisors and a Russian is the security advisor to the president. The country is attractive because of its uranium and gold deposits. In an agreement with Mozambique Russia supports the fight against Islamist terrorists in the North and also granted a debt swap in exchange for access to the large oil and gas fields. In Sudan, instructors train the security forces and Russian soldiers supported them in the brutal suppression of demonstrations last June.

Often, military training is not carried out directly by the Russian army, but by mercenaries of the Wagner group, a private security company already notorious through its operations in Crimea and Syria. During the Sochi summit, President Wladimir Putin declared that, “Today, developing and strengthening mutually beneficial relations with African countries is one of the priorities of Russian foreign policy.” But only time will show what this new found love with Africa practically means

However, it is viewed that there is a debt crisis hanging over the neck of the continent. This new wave of interest is indeed a feast on the soul of the African continent. Every resource that the continent can boast of is targeted; the level of resource extraction is massive. In return, there is promise of infrastructural development. It is the replay of an old story. In the 1980s, most African countries fell into a “debt trap” that led to a “lost development decade”. The bail out by the International Monetary through the so-called HIPC initiative (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) came at a high cost, with the imposition of strict conditions which stifled all possibilities of development. With China’s billions of credits for infrastructure projects, Russia’s arms exports, and governments borrowing further billions on the financial markets, Africa is well on the way to a new debt crisis. Time will tell if the seemingly huge debt reliefs that China and Russia have granted to some African countries are worth the soul of the African continent which has become the main dish for the insatiable appetites of Russia, China and the powerful western countries.

 

 

Madrid COP25: What does Africa want from the UN climate summit?

0652378FD-03E8-45D7-8595-899B3CFE83E1

Young activists on the continent have been calling for bolder action to deal with climate change

Africa accounts for less than 4% of the global total of carbon emissions but the continent is the most vulnerable in terms of the impact of climate change, the UN says.

While most of the world works to significantly reduce their carbon footprint, in Africa the debate is different.

The focus is instead on finding ways to cope with the increasing numbers of climate-related disasters and also achieving economic development with minimum carbon emissions.

Both of these objectives need huge funds which African countries cannot afford.

Ahead of the ongoing UN climate meeting in Madrid (COP25) scientists had been warning that the world needs to reduce carbon emissions – five times more than what had been pledged – if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.

While that agenda is proving to be a tough nut to crack, different negotiating blocs at the UN meeting have their own priorities depending on their circumstances.

Africa’s agenda

A UN study has estimated that sub-Saharan Africa would alone need climate adaptation finance of around $50bn (£37bn) annually by 2050.

“Africa needs to receive means of implementation,” Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, a lead negotiator from the Africa Group, said at a COP25 press meeting in Madrid.

“We need to receive financial resources, technology transfer, and capacity building. And these are not outrageous asks.”

His comments came amid concern among many poor African countries – 33 are listed among the 47 least developed countries – that they had not received the climate finance promised by rich countries and whatever was made available through international bodies was very difficult to access.

The Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – a body representing 36 of the world’s most developed countries – however said last year that public climate finance from developed countries to developing countries had increased from $37.9bn in 2013 to $54.5bn in 2017.

Bad governance and corruption in some poor countries have been cited as a reason for ineffective use of climate funds.

‘Africa already hit by climate’

Africa’s need for adapting to extreme weather events, many of them linked to climate change impacts, is becoming increasingly urgent, experts say.

They point at recent examples of cyclones, floods and severe droughts.

“The health, livelihoods and food security of people in Africa have been affected by climate change,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN body on climate science, said in its fifth assessment report, some five years ago.

The report said production of wheat and maize in parts of Africa had already been impacted by climate change, as had the productivity of fisheries of the Great Lakes and Lake Kariba on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border and fruit-bearing trees in the Sahel.

More than half a decade since the report was published, climate experts say the effects have intensified and have become more frequent.

“No continent will be struck as severely by the impacts of climate change as Africa,” the United Nations Environment Programme said in a report.

“Given its geographical position, the continent will be particularly vulnerable due to the considerably limited adaptive capacity, and exacerbated by widespread poverty,” it said.

African negotiators at COP25 have been pressing for funds to adapt to the impact of climate change while demanding that major carbon emitters make significant cuts in their emissions to prevent dangerous warming.

“We from the Least Developed Countries bloc were very hopeful about adaptation financing in this meeting,” said Sonam Wangdi, from Bhutan, who heads the LDC bloc that has 33 African countries as members.

“But all of our member countries, including those from Africa, are quite disappointed because we see nothing concrete happening,” Mr Wangdi said.

Negotiators from the developing world have said climate adaptation and its financing were still not high enough on the main agenda.

An analysis by the OECD found that of the total climate finance mobilised by rich countries, less than 20% went for adaptation projects in 2017.

Another study by the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development estimated that less than 10% of $17bn international climate finance was committed for local level activities between 2013 and 2016.

The share for least developed countries would be lower still, with some climate finance experts putting the figure at around 5%.

“The main reason for Africa not getting adequate climate adaptation finance is because most international financing organisations don’t see it bankable as there is no profit in the short-term,” said Colin McQuistan, head of climate resilience with Practical Action, an NGO helping several African countries with climate adaptation.

“Africa is still largely a farming economy and it is mainly about small scale farmers… which means international climate financing agencies will have to deal with these farmers individually and that will mean huge administrative costs,” added Mr McQuistan.

‘Loss and Damage’

This is another contentious issue developed and developing countries have locked horns over, and Africa is very much involved.

The Warsaw International Mechanism, a special forum established six years ago to deal with the loss and damage idea, is being reviewed at COP25 and developing countries want it to be properly funded within the UN climate set-up.

Some experts consider “loss” to apply to the complete destruction of something such as human lives, habitats and species. “Damage” refers to something that can be repaired, such as roads or buildings.

However, developed countries have not yet recognised the concept of compensating impacted countries in the developing world.

African negotiators are actively involved in this negotiation but one of them said there wasn’t any progress on this front either.

“Just like on adaptation finance, we thought we would be able to create a robust mechanism for loss and damage, but that has not happened so far,” said the negotiator who wanted to remain anonymous.

“If we don’t receive money, we will not only fail to adapt to climate impacts… we will also have no choice but to carry on with carbon-intensive economic development, like burning fossil fuels,” said the African negotiator.

The meeting in Madrid is halfway through and last week largely focussed on technical sessions. With ministers joining this week, all eyes are now on them.

 

 

 

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-50712486