Intra-regional trade could be instrumental to address climate change impacts

Kigali, 24 October 2019 (ECA) -The Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Initiative (GCCA+) argues that climate change impacts threaten to undermine hard-won development gains in Africa.

According to Jane Wilkinson, Strategic Mitigation Advisor at GCCA+, “Africa’s geographic position and high climate vulnerability compounded by low adaptive capacity in most African countries, threatens agricultural production and food security across the continent”.

GCCA+ and the Government of Rwanda organized on 15-18 October, in Kigali, a Regional Conference to discuss the topic “Climate-Smart Africa: Harnessing Growth and Protecting the Gains

Speaking at the conference, Rwanda’s Minister for the Environment, Dr Vincent Biruta appealed for everyone's participation to address the climate crisis. 

Dr Biruta said that Rwanda is acting in its best interests to grow the prosperity of its citizens and economy by taking strong domestic policy action, including to restore large areas of degraded land and create a land titling system to support a thriving agriculture sector.

Speaking on a panel about Key climate change challenges for Africa, Andrew Mold, Acting Director of ECA in Eastern Africa argued that raising the level of intra-regional trade could be very important to address some of the problems of climate change. He gave an example of Kenya that had a serious drought in 2017 and imported grain commodities such as maize, beans from the neighbouring Uganda.

Mold explained that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents a unique opportunity to grow intra-Africa trade and help to address the problems of food security on the continent.

Stephen Rodriques, the Resident Representative of UNDP Rwanda also called for collaboration as the key to tackling climate change. Rodriques said that given the nature of climate change and the scale of its impact, the partnership between UN agencies, government ministries, development partners, private sector and individual households could catalysing action on climate change.

“So many climate oriented conferences are attended by climate specialists only”. We need to move beyond that and quickly”, he said. 

ECA is the host of African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), an initiative to contribute to poverty reduction through successful mitigation and adaptation to climate change in Africa and to improve the capacity of African countries to participate effectively in multilateral climate negotiations.

Issued by:

The Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa

UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)