Nairobi — African policymakers have been challenged to prioritise the impact of climate change when preparing their economic development blueprints.

The call was made by Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Cooperatives Peter Munya during the 24th Annual African Economic Research Consortium’s (AERC) Senior Policy Seminar.

While speaking on behalf of Munya, Kenya’s Chief Administrative Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, & Fisheries Lawrence Omuhaka said climate change has produced a domino effect, and to power Africa’s economic growth and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, researchers must spell out a proactive stance for African policymakers on managing climate change.

“Climate change represents a major threat to Africa achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It is important to keep in mind that nearly all the impacts of climate change are exacerbated by inappropriate policy choices,” he said.

“Our very survival is linked to climate change as our food security rests on agricultural systems that still rely largely on low inputs, traditional tools, and the promise of rain – and are subject to the vagaries of drought and flooding.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by Mthuli Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Zimbabwe.

“Climate change has a growing impact on the continent, hitting the most vulnerable hardest, and contributing to food insecurity, low crop yields and production, droughts and erratic weather patterns. There’s a need for the continent to commit to enhancing climate action and building resilience,” Ncube said.

Themed “Climate Change and Economic Development in Africa”, the forum cast the spotlight on policy proposals that can be adopted to shape Africa’s response to climate change.

“Climate change has adverse implications for Africa’s development, from health systems to agriculture, ecosystems, water resources, energy resources and physical infrastructure.Thus, there is a need for African governments to scale up the availability, access, and affordability of digital agricultural technologies, which are the key drivers of climate-smart agriculture interventions,” said AERC Executive Director Njuguna Ndung’u.

Africa faces exponential collateral damage, posing systemic threats to its economies, infrastructure investments, water and food systems, public health, agriculture, and livelihoods, threatening to reverse its modest development gains and slip into deeper levels of extreme poverty.

“Climate risk can be turned into an opportunity by leveraging climate-smart agriculture (CSA) innovations. Africa needs to urgently address the issues of lack of capacity and poor institutions,” said Asafu-Adjaye of the African Center for Economic Transformation & School of Economics at the University of Queensland, Australia.

The AERC Senior Policy Seminar is an annual forum convened to provide high-level African policymakers the opportunity to come together to learn about the results of AERC research, exchange policy experiences with each other, and interact with AERC researchers in an atmosphere of peers.

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