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Updated Feb 17, 2020

On the margins of the African Union 2020 summit held in Addis Ababa, African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina told Associated Press that Africa shouldn’t need to beg for assistance in combating climate change impacts and that polluter countries in Europe, North America, and the East “have to pay”. Africa’s 1.2 billion population is already experiencing the effects of climate change, including heavier rains than usual feeding massive locust swarms, persistent drought in Southern Africa, and rampant deforestation. Yet, on the whole, the entire continent produces only 2–3 percent of global carbon emissions, whereas the United States, with a third of the population, contributes close to 16 percent.

The African Development Bank is increasing climate funding by 40 percent, or US$25 billion, of total investments, Adesina said. Half of this money is for climate adaptation, including renewable energy products in Kenya and Morocco. Adesina also said the bank will no longer invest in coal projects, despite a number of African countries being highly dependent on coal as an energy source, South Africa in particular. Adesina intends to use the bank’s financing as a means of weaning African nations off coal dependency, but acknowledges that it will take time.

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