Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday called for urgent and bold interventions to deal with the challenges posed by climate change in Africa.
Kenyatta said challenges posed by these climate-related events have been compounded by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted global economies.
“Though not directly linked to climate change, the global resources allocated to fighting COVID-19 and to mitigate its negative impact on the economy have no doubt reduced what is available to address climate change,” he said during the virtual launch of the African chapter of the Global Center on Adaption (GCA Africa).
Kenyatta in a statement issued after the meeting noted that the recent climate change attributed desert locust invasion of Eastern Africa, as well as intermittent droughts and floods, are a growing socioeconomic burden to the region.
“Exacerbated by climate change, the desert locust invasion of Kenya and other Eastern Africa countries has devastated the livelihoods of farmers and poses an unprecedented threat to food security,” he said.
Kenyatta told the meeting which was hosted by the President of African Development Bank (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina and addressed by several African leaders among them Presidents Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana) and Sahle-Work Zewde (Ethiopia) that the effects of climate change have been worsened by the global COVID-19 health crisis.
He called for the integration of adaptation measures into COVID-19 recovery packages and urged development partners to support Africa’s climate initiatives.
Kenyatta challenged GCA Africa to spearhead the upscaling of pilot adaptation projects such as Kenya’s livestock insurance scheme, the first of its kind in Africa, to the rest of the continent.
“Additionally, several adaptation initiatives that have been piloted in Africa should be scaled up by the center we are launching today,” Kenyatta said.
He lauded AfDB for its support in setting up IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC) in Nairobi, a facility he said helps the region to receive timely climate prediction data.
In his opening remarks, Adesina announced that AfDB is working on raising amounts available for investment in Africa’s climate-smart projects to 2.7 trillion shillings (25 billion U.S. dollars) by 2025.
He singled out Kenya’s Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, the continent’s largest wind power project financed by the continental bank, saying the plant represents the future of Africa’s adaptation in the energy sector.