From The Alps To Africa: The Triple Threats Of Cost, Climate And Conflict

Forbes Africa
Published 8 days ago
Activists in Davos stage a protest against World Economic Forum

“Very little has been committed to climate adaptation finance in Africa…” – Dr Agnes Kalibata

By Ridhima Shukla

The small, snow-capped town of Davos, Switzerland, witnessed freezing temperatures and heated debates this past week.

At this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, themed Cooperation in a Fragmented World, more than 500 CEOs of the world’s biggest firms attended alongside A-list celebrities such as Idris Elba with his wife Sabrina, and social media influencers, promoting a diverse mix of thought-leaders and thinkers.

Climate change, aptly, took center-stage in discussions this year, as energy companies turned up in greater numbers as also financial institutions playing a critical role in just energy transition around the world.

The triple threat of conflict, climate and cost, to which Africa has made little contribution but has been disproportionately impacted by, was also a central theme of the discussions at WEF.

Organizations like AGRA, IFAD, UNAIDS and several others were in attendance to promote the needs of the African continent in the context of global inflation leading to higher costs of living for ordinary Africans.

Alvaro Lario, the President of IFAD, stressed on the need to act now: “Farmers in Africa are having to choose between planting and eating – this needs to be addressed more urgently than before.”

While urgency is the need of the hour, the investments that have come through in the last decade for agro industries fall short of what is required, shared Lario. “The G7 could only commit to $5 billion to build food security globally leaving a deficit of $2 billion.”

This deficit is not isolated to food security funds but also climate adaptation in Africa, an issue AGRA President Dr Agnes Kalibata was at Davos for: “Very little has been committed to climate adaptation finance in Africa…. even though that is what our farmers need. I am also here to discuss how the world’s emission plans are turning out and their impact on Africa.”

Despite global pressures, Africa’s investment landscape is gaining attention, shared the CEO of ABSA Bank, Arrie Rautenbach, at WEF: “There is renewed interest in Africa, especially with African Continental Free Trade Area; it poses a big opportunity for Africa.”

Additionally, Africa has everything going for it to claim the biggest slice of the world’s trade pie, as mentioned by Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya: “Twenty five percent of the world’s workers will be African by 2050; we must think long-term growth, we have all the resources.”

Keeping long-term issues in mind, the forum’s discussions were about sustainable solutions, ranging from energy transition, reimagining globalization, inclusion and diversity, as well as the space economy, to prepare the world to collaborate and share equally in all future crises.