There is no doubt that climate change will impede humanity’s goals in alleviating poverty. More and more extreme climate events have reversed hard-won gains in reducing systemic poverty, and there is a real risk that if nothing is urgently done, our new climate will entrench existing poverty traps.

World leaders recently met in Glasgow during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly known as COP 26, where 90% of the world’s economy committed to achieving net-zero emissions. However, easing the impacts of climate change and efforts to transition developing economies into resilient and low carbon nations remains weak. Furthermore, commitments for climate financing are still below the set target of US$100billion by 2020. After COP26, it remains clear that we are far from achieving global targets.

Any form of climate change will be catastrophic for Africa. Whilst the continent is one of the lowest contributors to climate change, emitting less than 3% of historical global greenhouse gases, it is expected that adverse climate impacts will suppress economic growth by 15%. This will reduce the propensity of African nations to alleviate poverty. Current projections indicate that by 2030, adverse climate impacts will contribute to Africa hosting 90% of the world’s extreme poor.

At The AECF, we see first-hand the impact of global inaction in fighting climate change. Extreme weather events are increasingly intruding on our efforts to improve the livelihoods of rural and marginalised communities. Many of our investments face droughts, floods and catastrophic events with such high frequency that sustainability is heavily curtailed. With this in mind, AECF is making strides to support sub-Saharan Africa to build resilient businesses that withstand increasingly common climate change-induced shocks.

To date, The AECF has mobilised over US$166 million to support sub-Saharan enterprises to navigate the emerging challenges driven by a changing climate. We are proud of our programmes, such as our agribusiness investments which for example equip farmers across Africa with more climate-resilient seed varieties. While our renewable energy investments look to support the commercialisation of homegrown clean energy innovations for productive use and clean cooking. In addition, considering that climate change impacts are not gender-neutral, The AECF has made a deliberate move to advance women considerations in our programming. We seek to create sustainable green jobs, focusing on the impact of climate change on women; while mentoring, training and equipping a generation of female leaders to sustain their businesses.

While we have never sat on the sidelines of the climate fight, The AECF recognises that we can do more. Moving forward, we will further reinforce and drive our efforts in fighting climate change for all communities across Africa. We will scale our climate finance portfolio to support green enterprises, work to mainstream environmental and social safeguards, and intensify green job creation for the most vulnerable in Africa.

Climate change is Africa’s most significant challenge this century. We must support Africa to navigate this challenge, securing a resilient private sector and a prosperous future.