In an interview, the President of the AfDB rejected African responsibility for global warming. The continent emits less than 4% of all greenhouse gases. But today he must avoid the worst.
In Africa, global warming is a reality. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Western Sahel region, for example, will experience the greatest drying up in its history, while the duration of wet periods will decrease in Central Africa and that southern Africa will see droughts progress. As for West Africa, climate change will be such that the IPCC predicts a drastic reduction in agricultural yields. Enough to fear the worst for the continent but also for its inhabitants, who could be faced with significant food insecurity.
Something to worry about Akinwumi Adesina, the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for Nigeria, now President of the African Development Bank (AfDB). In the French magazine Le Point, the leader confides on the challenges that Africa must meet. Regarding this subject, he deplores the fact that Africa is suffering the consequences of global warming which is not of its making.
“While Africa emits less than 4% of all greenhouse gases, the continent is suffering significant effects and is more than rightly impacted. This is reflected in the drought in the Sahel and the advancing desertification, by the floods and cyclones which hit countries such as Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi ”. And these climate changes have a real financial impact: "The increased intensity of flooding has destroyed a lot of infrastructure on the continent which loses between 7 and 8 billion dollars per year because of the effects of climate change".
The fact remains that today, the continent has to deal with a problem from elsewhere. “We didn't create the problem, continues Akinwumi Adesina, but we still have to adapt to the problems created by others”. During the COP21, the African States all committed themselves to helping to limit the rise in temperatures to 2 ° C.
Yet, as Inga Rhonda King, President of the UN Economic and Social Council, points out, Africa is one of the most environmentally degraded regions in the world. Forecasts show that temperature increases will be 1,5 times greater than in the rest of the world.
Gas emissions have also increased in Africa
But this fight against global warming is in addition to other problems, economic, health or social. “The continent is already experiencing several multifactorial development challenges. Global warming is seriously complicating these problems and compromising the efforts of States and local economies, ”says Arona Diedhiou, climatologist and atmospheric physicist, research director at the Research Institute for development (IRD).
However, should we blame this situation exclusively on the West? For the climatologist, despite the emission of less than 4% of the global totality of greenhouse gases, the continent also has its share of responsibilities. “Over the past 20 years, carbon dioxide and methane emissions, however low compared to global emissions, have increased significantly in sub-Saharan Africa,” he explains. This is consistent with the economic growth experienced by most countries on the continent ”.
Africa is therefore taking charge on this subject, particularly in recent years. In particular thanks to recognized continental experts. “The governing bodies of the IPCC have done a remarkable job of increasing the number of African experts in the preparation of the next IPCC report. It is important to encourage the rapprochement between the group of African negotiators and this group of African experts of the IPCC to better take into account the new research results, to support the interventions and to better make heard the voice of an Africa plagued by the crisis. global warming with little ability to adapt, ”says Arona Diedhiou.
And despite the responsibility of the West, it is now necessary to look to the future. Because African society is very closely linked to the climate system and hundreds of millions of people depend on rainfall to produce their food. With an agricultural system on which an entire continent depends, Africa must today focus, for example, on the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin, one of the lungs of Africa.