DEVELOPMENT TOPICS: Environment
Africa faces many environmental challenges, some related to the climate crisis, such as drought, flooding, and extreme weather. Biodiversity loss is a major threat, which goes hand in hand with deforestation, land degradation, and pollution.
Dwindling water supplies threaten lives and agriculture, while industrial agriculture is itself a threat to the environment, affecting sustainable food security. Activists in some African countries are advocating for a greater awareness of environmental issues as well as climate justice. The main focus areas are soil, water and air pollution, how resources are used, and how the climate crisis is affecting livelihoods on the continent.
Company support for the environment
The private sector can help to drive social progress and economic growth in Africa through sustainable investment. This includes green initiatives such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable forestry and agri-business, water conservation and wetlands management, sustainable cities and infrastructure, waste management and recycling, urban greening, and setting and meeting biodiversity targets.
With most companies making sure that environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors form part of their reporting practices, the next step is aligning ESG with company strategy, so it forms an intrinsic part of how companies do business.
Africa’s climate burden
Although Africa’s share of global greenhouse gas emissions has been estimated to be around 3.8%, the continent is more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than many others. Climate risks like drought, flooding, storms and heatwaves make it difficult for Africa to achieve climate resilience. Africa is rich in fossil fuels (nearly 50% of exports are made up of hydrocarbon products), which makes a transition to net zero emissions more difficult, particularly as the industry drives employment and poses a problem for development. Climate finance is needed to safeguard both livelihoods and the environment on the continent.