South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, said African countries are already spending between 2 and 9 percentage of their GDP on addressing extreme climatic events that are already taking place at an accelerated pace.
Ramaphosa said it is both unfair and unsustainable to expect Africa to shoulder this mounting burden alone, adding that “Adaptation is a global responsibility.”
He stated this while speaking to the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) at the 33rd Session of the African Union Assembly at the weekend in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He said the African continent continues to be one of the areas in the globe most affected by phenomena associated with global warming; be it droughts, floods, and other extreme weather systems.
“Our citizens look onto us to ensure their health, well-being, and safety in the face of rapidly changing climate conditions. Climate change and its associated consequences can only be addressed by the nations of the world working together,” he said.
According to him, “This is a critical period for ensuring that Africa’s positions and interests are advanced, so that we are able to transition our economies in a just manner towards a low-carbon future, and to lend our best efforts towards addressing the global climate crisis.”
While noting that Africa needs to speak with one clear voice to emphasise the primacy of multilateralism, and to support the Convention and the Paris Agreement, the South African President said they need to build alliances with like-minded countries and regions.
He also said that all African countries require support from both international partners and development space to achieve a Just Transition, adding that the trend of international financers to abruptly disinvest from fossil fuels poses a particular threat to Africa because of the unintended impact on jobs, economy, energy, and food security.
“We need to register concern at the nature of, and restrictions associated with the support that is available.
“The time to act on climate change is now. As nations of Africa, we owe it not just to ourselves, but to future generations to bequeath a legacy of a natural world that will live on long after we are gone.”