Climate Change Dominates AfDB Annual Meetings Seminars

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Climate Change and its impact on Africa’s social and economic development is on the front burner of this year’s African Development Bank (AfDB) Group Annual Meetings High Level Seminars (HLSs) in Abidjan, where discussions have focused on climate change and how to contain its negative impact on the continent.

“Africa on the Rebound” is the overall theme of this year’s seminars. The four HLSs that follow are crafted around contemporary issues such as climate change, food security and equitable development in relation to Bank Group Regional Member Countries’ (RMCs) development strategies.

The four topics being discussed are built around the challenges encountered in African countries’ economic growth and development. These are: Climate Change and Development Financing; Measuring Development in Resource-Based and Rural/Informal Economies; Rebalancing the Role of the State and Market; and Climate Change-Implications for Agriculture and Food Security in Africa.

Addressing the official opening session on Wednesday, 26 May 2010, AfDB Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Nkosana Moyo, said the seminars provided a platform for in-depth discussions on Africa’s climate-related development problems and how to solve them.

After the food, energy and the financial crises, the continent must now devise innovative ways of tackling the huge challenges posed by climate change, Mr. Moyo said, adding that the seminars should generate good ideas for tackling these challenges.

He said the Bank Group was fully engaged in efforts to assist African countries mitigate the impacts of climate change in its operations as well as acting as catalyst in mobilizing resources and financing mechanisms.

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing us. There is a need for collective action as no single institution or entity can resolves these challenges alone.

For his part, Cote d’Ivoire’s planning and development minister and current chairman of the Bank’s Board of Governors, Paul Antoine Bohoun Bouabré, commended the institution’s leadership role in climate change mitigation efforts.

Citing the case of his country whose 16 million square kilometres forestland have been reduced to just 2 million square kilometres by climate change, Mr. Bohoun Bouabré said Africa needed to speed up climate change adaptation efforts.

“We must adapt to climate change,” he said, noting that “the impact of climate change affects all countries and all sectors of human activity.”

The AfDB Chief Economist and Vice President, Mthuli Ncube coordinated the session.