Ghana’s President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo has made a strong case at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow Scotland setting the tone for Africa’s critical climate action.
The President insisted that even though Africa contributed less than four percent of the global volume of carbon emissions, it suffered the worst repercussions of global warming.
Making reference to the African Development Bank’s revelation that the continent would need some $3 trillion “in mitigation and adaptation by 2030” to implement nationally determined contributions, he said: “The obvious question arises as to how we, in Africa, finance these commitments, especially as our socio-economic development continues, unfortunately, to be very low.”
“The Almighty has blessed our lands with abundant natural resources, and it will be wholly unfair for the world to demand that Africa abandon the exploitation of these same resources needed to finance its development and help us cope better with the threat of climate change at a time when many countries on the continent have only just discovered them,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said Africa’s agrarian and resource-driven economies were peculiarly susceptible to the effects of climate change, while its capacity to withstand its shocks was weak.
While stressing that climate change was the greatest threat to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he said it had an enormous impact on the fundamentals required for survival on earth.
He indicated that agriculture, water, energy, and the extraction of mineral resources were essential drivers of development in African countries but, at the same time, they were characteristically sensitive to changing climate.
Exploitation of resources
President Akufo-Addo said the development and industrialisation of the wealthy nations of today were also hinged on the exploitation of the natural resources of poorer nations, a development that came at the expense of pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases.
“Those same nations are, however, insisting that we abandon the opportunity for the rapid development of our economies. That will be tantamount to enshrining inequality of the highest order, a totally unacceptable conclusion,” he said.
Level playing field
The President said the solution to the threat of climate change must be equitable and fairground, “a solution that levels the playing field; a solution that recognises the historical imbalances between the high emitters and low emitters”.
“Ghana, therefore, supports the call for debt-for-climate swaps, which will address a multitude of issues,” he added.