Climate change policy planning and funding of ameliorative efforts for global warming needed to take account of the “development trajectory” of the African continent, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told delegates to a climate change forum at the weekend.
Gordhan said he believed that Africa would be emerging as “a key player” in the world economy in the next 30 years.
He was speaking at the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) Partnership Forum, an annual event hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank where funding decisions on climate-smart development worldwide are taken.
“What Africa does require is that traditional paradigms of funding and aid need to be transformed,” he said.
“A new formula which links action on climate change to genuine development for the peoples of Africa for industrialisation and economic development… is needed.”
Such initiatives should be directed at genuine job creation and skills development “and urgent and systematic processes that will eradicate poverty on this continent as well,” he added.
Gordhan said he was “a firm believer” that Africa would become the site for research and development for new technologies and policies to fight climate change.
He said climate change was the “key issue facing humanity”, which he believed would test the human ability “to co-operate to overcome adversity, to overcome our instinct to act only within our own self-interest and attempt to act to redefine the global interest”.
“Let us ask ourselves how we can… reformulate the development trajectory on the African continent and use the opportunity… to ensure the benefits of growth don’t get left to a small elite,” he said, adding that the change should benefit Africa’s 1 billion people.
AfDB communications officer Chawki Chahed said that Africa would put nearly 40 percent, or $2.6 billion (R17.9bn), of the CIF’s $6.5bn to work across the continent this year.
The funding is earmarked for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, climate-compatible development planning and sustainable forest management.
Delegates from 45 countries attended the forum. The African delegates hailed from Algeria, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia and Zambia.