Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), has called for urgent and increased funding to mitigate impacts of climate change in Africa.
“Urgent development funds need to flow to Africa for climate change adaptation and resilience-building across the continent,” Songwe told a climate-themed event held under the theme “Toward COP 27: African Regional Forum on Climate Initiatives to Finance Climate Action and the SDGs” on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.
Noting that Africa emits the lowest amount of greenhouse gases, Songwe called for a transparent and fair carbon pricing mechanism so that Africa would be able to receive about 180 billion U.S. dollars a year to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The UNECA chief urged African countries to build food self-sufficiency by making use of their fertile lands and boosting their capacity for production of fertilizers in the continent.
She said at least 23 African countries have seen their currencies depreciate by over 15 percent owing to the recent disruption of food supply to the continent.
“The Ukraine crisis highly affects Africa’s capacity to be able to afford the already escalating food, fuel and fertilizer prices,” Songwe said, noting that the continent is highly dependent on food imports from Russia and Ukraine.
Songwe urged countries in the continent, especially South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia, to enhance their agricultural productivity by making use of their fertile lands and fertilizers produced in other parts of the continent.
“Africa exports more volume of fertilizer than it consumes,” she said, urging countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania to produce high quality and cleaner fertilizer to meet demands in the continent.
“On average, in Africa, we use about 15 kilograms of fertilizer per hectare, compared to about 171 kilograms in Ukraine and Russia. That is why we are importing food from them,” Songwe said. ■