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‘Sobering’ African Economic Outlook strikes a chord with US and UK stakeholders

The African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook report 2022 (AEO) struck a chord with policymakers and other stakeholders during recent seminars in the United States and the United Kingdom.

An African Development Bank Group delegation, led by Acting Chief Economist and Vice President Kevin Urama, was in Washington D.C. 20-29 July, and London 1-2 August, to discuss the AEO, a flagship publication of the Bank, with global market players.

The verdict was clear. From the International Monetary Fund to the World Bank, the Centre for Global Development, Brookings Institution, the Atlantic Council, and the University College London this week, speakers agreed that the 2022 AEO provides evidence-based policy options for driving inclusive growth by building climate resilience and a just energy transition in Africa.

“If we want to avoid reinventing the wheel about the climate narrative, then the AEO 2022 is a must-read as we prepare for COP 27, ‘Africa’s COP’,” said Aloysius Uche Ordu, director of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution.

He said the report lays out actionable policy recommendations that should form the basis for discussions on how to support Africa’s climate resilience at COP 27, the United Nations climate conference, to be hosted by Egypt this November.

Yacob Mulugetta, professor of energy and development policy at the University College London, observed that the AEO captures how low-carbon transitions in Africa will vary from country to country.

“What this means is transformational socio-economic opportunities must be at the forefront of the green energy transition. This will require new technologies as well as climate finance…which is additional finance beyond official development assistance,” Mulugetta said at a public seminar for policy stakeholders in the UK on Monday.

Andrew Steer, CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund, said the 2022 African Economic Outlook is “an excellent report that lays out beautifully this sobering time for Africa, in particular, but actually for the whole world.”

These he explained, include “a slowing world economy, the perfect storm of rising food prices, rising energy prices, rising interest rates, and shocking increases in the impact of climate change and green vulnerability at a time that international resources are not what they need to be.”

Speaking at an AEO presentation at his organization’s headquarters in Washington D.C., Abebe Selassie, Director of the African Department at the IMF, observed that African policymakers face the unenviable task of needing to invest trillions of dollars on the transition to cleaner energy, which the region needs to advance its development.

Selassie said the findings of the 2022 African Economic Outlook were “sobering”, observing that the publication “raised some profound issues.”

In several presentations, VP Urama called on the world to treat climate finance with the same vigor it approached the Covid-19 pandemic. For a start, he wants developed countries to keep to their commitment to provide $100 billion in climate finance to developing countries to support climate adaptation and mitigation..

“Africa is facing high climate vulnerability. Climate change affects millions. 600 million Africans are without electricity. To create jobs and reduce poverty, Africa needs energy. Bold, innovative financing ideas abound. Now is the time to leverage them,” he remarked. “Carbon dioxide emission does not know boundaries; it does not need a visa to travel.”

The African Economic Outlook is published annually. It is a tool for economic intelligence, policy dialogue, and operational effectiveness, and provides compelling up-to-date evidence and analytics to inform and support Africa’s decision-makers.

The 2022 Outlook highlights climate change as a growing threat to lives and livelihoods in Africa. It also makes it clear that the Covid 19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war are placing additional burdens on African economies and livelihoods across the continent.  

The African Development Bank Group launched the Outlook during its Annual Meetings in May in Accra, Ghana.

Click here to watch recordings of the discussions

Click here to view photos

Click here to watch AEO 2022 summary video

African Development Bank Group

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