Africa urged to scale up climate adaptation capacity

APA - Kigali (Rwanda)

Unless Africa ramps up its capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change, it will be hit the hardest with its effects, a prominent researcher warned Thursday.

Prof. Shem Wandiga, a  retired professor of Chemistry and former Acting Director Institute for  Climate Change and Adaptation (ICCA), told a virtual press briefing that  African governments are failing to prioritize climate change mitigation  and adaptation activities.

Africangovernments must have robust  action plans to reduce emission of greenhouse gases by venturing into  new innovations,including the use of electric vehicles, solar energy,  geothermal energy, wind energy and hydropower,” Prof Wandiga of Kenya  said.

Other Innovations according to him should be prioritized  include increased efficient use of energy in domestic buildings,  transport systems,cycling and sharing of rides to work places.

Focusing  on energy, he noted that only three countries-South Africa, Morocco and  Egypt-have major energy projects of over 100 MW power.

The rest  have the “curse of power project agreements”characterized by missed  deadlines and overpricing while energy consumers complain of being  burdened by high cost of electricity by power companies, it said.

Official  reports indicate that the African energy situation is so dire yet only  3,106 solar power plant projects worth 236,211 MW are operating in  Africa.

The good news is that 249 projects are being constructed  worth 42,649 MW while 2,324 projects worth 294,096 MW are in the  planning stage, Prof. Wandiga said.

Currently the continent has  five biggest solar power plant projects namely,Noor Solar complex in  Morocco,Benban Solar Park in Egypt, De Aar Solar Power, Ilanga  Concentrated Solar Power and Kathu Solar Park allocated in the Northern  Cape Province of South Africa.

The Garissa Solar Plant in Kenya  is the largest grid connected solar power plant in Eastern and Central  Africa,generating about 50MW.The project is contributing about 2% of the  national energy mix and has led to a significant reduction of energy  costs in the country.

Prof Wandiga said Africa urgently needs to  embrace sustainable climate change adaptation strategies given its  vulnerability despite its negligible contribution to carbon  emissions,adding that adaptation spending is the continent’s climate  investment priority as per the African Union.

He disclosed that  the most relevant studies suggest adaptation costs in the African region  range between US$ 20-30 billion per annum over the next 10 to 20 years.  

“There is a pressing need to mobilize resources to address the  continent’s current limitations to deal with climate events, as well as  resources to deal with future climate change,” he said.


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