Delegates at the COP27 climate summit announced a raft of projects to help Africa combat climate change, including initiatives to help women working in agriculture and to give 300 million people across the continent access to affordable renewable energy in the next five years.
A Decent Life in Africa
Hala Elsaid, Egypt’s minister of planning and economic development, announced the launch of the “Decent Life for a Climate Resilient Africa” initiative to help Africa’s poorest rural areas confront the effects of climate change. This initiative builds on Egypt’s “Haya Karima” (“A Decent Life”) project, which aims to improve living conditions in the country’s poor communities.
The new project’s mission statement says that African countries will work with different partners to improve the quality of life in 30 percent of the continent’s most vulnerable and poorest villages and rural areas by 2030. It will focus on establishing climate-resilient farming systems, strengthening infrastructure and shelters, and trying to create an “ecologically balanced environment for a liveable future.”
The Africa-wide initiative’s statement notes that Africans in rural areas often do not have access to electricity and that 75 percent of the world’s people who have no electricity live in sub-Saharan Africa.
“It is difficult to face climate change without providing essential services and the simplest rights for people to live in dignity.”Hala Elsaid, Egypt’s minister of planning and economic development
Elsaid told Al-Fanar Media that one of the project’s goals was to protect the population in these areas from the devastating effects of extreme weather phenomena, such as high temperatures, rising sea levels, and sudden changes in precipitation, which decimate crops and cause food shortages.
“Egypt has benefited from its experience over the past two years in providing villagers with decent services, reducing poverty, controlling population increase, and mitigating the impact of climate change,” Elsaid said.
She wants the Egyptian government to use its experience to try to achieve the same results in the rest of Africa.
“It is difficult to face climate change without providing essential services and the simplest rights for people to live in dignity,” she said.
Elsaid said she regarded climate change as inseparable from other challenges facing Africa such as the debt crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the lack of social protection networks to ease the effects of high unemployment and inflation. This requires the simultaneous implementation of policies for dealing with climate change and for sustainable development.
Empowering African Women
Also at the summit, Egypt’s National Council for Women and UN Women, the United Nations organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, announced an initiative called “African Women’s Climate Adaptive Priorities” (AWCAP).
The programme aims to help African women adapt to the effects of climate change through cooperation between governments and international organisations.
Samira Rashwan, assistant president of Egypt’s National Council for Women, said the initiative aimed to give African women the skills to help the continent build a green economy.
“Climate change affects women; it increases discrimination against them, and adds to the chances of their being deprived of education and basic rights,” she told Al-Fanar Media. She added that the number of African women in decision making positions did not reflect their role in society.
“Although they are mainly involved in agriculture and food production, African women are not taught smart farming methods that can be followed to adapt to the effects of climate change,” Rashwan said. “They still need to be provided with this knowledge.”
“Although they are mainly involved in agriculture and food production, African women are not taught smart farming methods that can be followed to adapt to the effects of climate change. They still need to be provided with this knowledge.”Samira Rashwan, assistant president of Egypt’s National Council for Women
The programme’s mission is to protect rural women in Africa, since women and girls make up an estimated 80 percent of those forcibly displaced by climate change, according to U.N. statistics. Poor women and children are also 14 times more likely than men to die from climate-related disasters, UN Women has previously reported.
A Just and Affordable Energy Transition
The “Africa Just and Affordable Energy Transition” was another initiative for the continent announced at COP27.
This initiative’s goal is to give more than 300 million Africans access to clean cooking fuels and to increase the share of renewable electricity in the continent by 25 percent over the next five years.
It will combine the efforts of leading African governments, development banks and other regional institutions to develop a clear plan for energy transition, identifying the resources available and the technology needed to achieve the project’s goals.
The summit’s Egyptian delegates also called on African countries to set a goal of treating and recycling at least 50 percent of the continent’s solid waste by 2050.
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- The Road to COP27: African Youth Join Calls for Protecting the Earth
Read more about the COP27 climate summit and global climate concerns in Climate and Environment, an archive of Al-Fanar Media’s reporting on these topics.