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JOHANNESBURG – The African Development Bank (AfDB) will be defending the continent’s interests at the 24th annual conference of the UN Convention on Climate Change, known as COP24, which opened on Monday in Katowice, Poland. 

The bank said it was at the forefront of climate change and was ready to ensure that the voice of the 54 African countries was heard.

“At the forefront of the fight against climate change in Africa, the African Development Bank, strongly represented in previous COP summits is, once again, present in Katowice to ensure that the voice of Africa is heard loud and clear in global climate negotiations,” the bank said on its website.

To this end, the bank plans to pursue its advocacy work in helping African countries address climate change and begin their transition towards green growth and low-carbon development.

Bank vice president Amadou Hott is leading a delegation of climate change experts in various fields – including water and sanitation, transport, urbanisation and sustainable cities – who will shed light on the diversity and complexity of the issues raised by climate change. 

The bank also has its own pavilion, branded in its colours. Events will include several conferences and daily roundtables throughout the two-week event.

Africa is especially vulnerable to climate change as evidenced by the 2017 drought in East Africa and the drought South Africa experienced in 2018. In the 10-year period from 1995 to 2015, the African continent has suffered 136 episodes of drought, 77 of which have been in East Africa alone. 

Drought, floods, rising sea levels, extreme weather events that threaten people's food security, climate migrants and the economic damage inflicted by climate change are among the enormous problems Africa faces despite its contributing less than four percent of world greenhouse gas emissions. 

Of the 10 countries in the world considered most threatened by climate change, seven are in Africa – Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. And climate change is responsible for shaving off 1.4 points of gross domestic product in Africa every year.

 African News Agency (ANA)