African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina has called for more urgent action as climate change continues to wreak havoc in many African countries, saying the continent needs $277 billion per year to face the challenge.

He was speaking at a high-level roundtable on climate finance convened during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring Meetings by UK Deputy Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, and the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze.

Adesina said the ongoing devastating drought in several parts of Africa underscored the need for all stakeholders to come together to accelerate support and financing for Africa.

“Africa is in the eye of the storm from climate change, accounting for 9 out of the 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change globally,” Adesina told participants.

He added: “But Africa is not getting what it needs to adapt to climate change. Africa received just $30 billion per year for climate adaptation, while its needs are $277 billion per year, leaving a huge financing gap.”

The African Development Bank has scaled up climate finance and is exceeding its financing targets for African countries. The bank has launched several innovations to mobilise resources that will help scale up climate finance. These include a recent $750 million hybrid capital issue in the global capital markets, the first of its kind among multilateral development banks. The initiative was oversubscribed at $6 billion.

The African Development Bank’s room-to-run transaction, with a $2 billion guarantee from the United Kingdom, unlocked an additional $2 billion for the nbank to devote to climate finance.

Adesina said the African Development Bank was delivering on its promise. He said: “The African Development Bank set a target to devote 40% of its total financing to climate finance. We have exceeded this target consistently in the past three years, consecutively, and stood at 55% in 2023.”

The roundtable included interventions by World Bank Group President Ajay Banga, Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados, Global Center on Adaptation CEO Professor Patrick V Verkooijen, COP29 President Mukhtar Babayev, and ministers from Germany, the UK, Malawi, Kenya, Uruguay, Norway, Vanuatu, and Bangladesh. There were also interventions from heads of the Asian Development Bank, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, and Green Climate Fund Executive Director Mafalda Duarte.

The meeting highlighted the urgency of partnerships and collaboration to deliver climate finance to countries that need it most, including building capacity in these countries to better use these funds, develop bankable projects, and support smallholder farmers.

World Bank Group Ajay Banga encouraged stakeholders to remain determined to move forward despite existing frustrations. He said: “The first thing is not just to raise money, but to raise the capacity of countries in terms of getting bankable projects and also the capacity to execute them. We need to find a way to support countries with knowledge.” 

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