Africa: Is a Green Recovery in Africa Possible After Covid-19?

Africa is hard hit by the Covid-19 crisis and especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. A new report suggests ways the continent can build back better as it recovers.

An ambitious plan to ensure stimulus spending in Africa is used to ‘build back better’ after Covid-19 has been unveiled. Backed by 54 African leaders and championed by President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, the recommendations were issued by the Global Center on Adaptation and African Adaptation initiative.

With Africa particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the policy recommendations aim to focus stimulus investment on resilient infrastructure and food and water security to overcome the twin covid-climate crisis. The objective is to achieve a triple dividend for African countries by reducing pandemic risk, while at the same time increasing climate resilience and strengthening economic recovery.

The actions cover three key systems affected by both the pandemic and climate change: food production, water management and infrastructure.

“If the virus is a shared global challenge, so too should be the need to build resilience against future shocks,” says Ban Ki-moon, 8th United Nations Secretary General and Co-Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation. “Emerging and developing countries are the least prepared for the arrival of Covid-19, just as they are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.”A Guest Editorial

Today 74% of Africa’s population is deemed food insecure, and COVID-19 will make matters worse. To feed their rapidly increasing populations, sub-Saharan African countries already have to rely on massive food imports. Even before the pandemic, these were projected to grow from $35bn in 2017 to $110 billion by 2030. The upshot: Covid-19 could create a severe food security crisis in Africa. Nevertheless, policies that encourage female smallholder farmers and digital technology are among the options that can hA Guest Editorialelp mitigate the situation.