President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

As fires continue to rage in the Amazon basin, President Cyril Ramaphosa has highlighted the serious threat posed to Africa by climate change, while addressing the Tokyo International Conference on African Development. 

“While the African continent contributes less than six percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it has been disproportionately affected by more frequent extreme weather and climate events,” Ramaphosa said.

"During the past few years Southern Africa and other sub-regions of Africa have experienced devastating weather events, such as droughts, cyclones and floods.”

Ramaphosa used the timely climate change session chaired by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to highlight the reality that climate-related disasters have grave consequences for human security, social stability and economic development, and are generally felt most severely by the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

Ramaphosa emphasised that it is essential that African countries be provided with the necessary assistance to develop comprehensive risk management measures.

“South Africa has made substantial progress in adopting and implementing disaster risk reduction strategies. This includes addressing the rising incidence and costs of disasters, the current and anticipated impacts of climate change, as well as the protection of critical ecosystem services and natural resources,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa has been attending the TICAD VII Summit in Yokohama, Japan, the focus of which has been science, technology and innovation, human resource development and education, the oceans economy, climate change and disaster risk reduction, and agriculture.

As part of the activities ahead of the Summit, Ramaphosa visited the headquarters of Nissan in Yokohama, where he also engaged with business leaders at a South Africa-Japan Business Forum, and encouraged potential investors to collaborate with South Africa. Investors were invited to attend the South Africa Investment Conference due to take place in November. 

Ramaphosa also addressed the Japan-South Africa Business Expo which was hosted by the Japan External Trade Organisation. JETRO announced that 57% of Japanese firms currently based in Africa are planning to expand their businesses in the near future.