The fourth edition of the Africa Resilience Forum opened on Tuesday, as the continent’s most vulnerable communities face the triple challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, conflict and climate change.
It is estimated that 39 million Africans could slide into extreme poverty this year, due to the pandemic. At the same time, countries face higher fiscal costs, reducing the capacity for essential investments required to achieve ambitions such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The Africa Resilience Forum is a flagship event of the African Development Bank that brings together key stakeholders from government, civil society, the private sector and international partners, to reflect on conflict prevention and peace initiatives. and state building of the continent.
Amadou Hott, Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation of Senegal, shared some of his country’s successes which could prove useful in the current crisis. Speaking on behalf of President Macky Sall, Hott said Senegal has adopted a legal framework that provides for flexible and secure public-private partnerships. He declared that the crisis “reminds us of the need to reorganize our priorities, to strengthen the social protection of our populations and to establish a more endogenous development”.
African Development Bank President Akinwumi A Adesina highlighted the Bank’s work on climate finance and historic green projects, including the $ 20 billion Desert to Power solar power program, which will provide clean energy for up to 250 million people in 11 countries in the Sahel region.
“Across Africa, rising defense and security spending is increasingly shifting development funding towards essential services such as education, health, water, sanitation and affordable housing. … It compromises the long-term resilience needed to better bounce back, ”said Adesina. “The hydra-headed challenges of this pandemic, insecurity and climate change continue to have the greatest impact on young men, women and children.” Going forward, Adesina said the Bank will work closely with regional member countries on security indexed bonds to address the root causes of insecurity by protecting investments and livelihoods.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said the continent’s wealth of natural resources and historic solidarity could “lay the foundation for resilience”. He added: “The Covid pandemic has identified vulnerabilities and required a new vision for reforms. ”
The first day included two further sessions: one on competing development and security needs, particularly in the current environment of increased budget constraints, while the second focused on climate adaptation, a antidote emerge to the destructive impact of extreme weather conditions.
The security panel included Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director of the Africa Department of the International Monetary Fund, Dr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, Chairman of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and Adriano Afonso Maleiane, Minister of Economy of Mozambique and Finance.
Minister Maleiane, whose country has been affected by both climate and security challenges, described the impact of the latter alone: “Today, security spending equals investment. Without security (there is) no investment, no growth, nothing.
The next two days of the Africa Resilience Forum will focus on actions around investing in women, youth employment, bridging the digital divide and boosting manufacturing in transition states. This year, the Forum will also serve as a platform to learn more about the Bank’s new strategy to tackle fragility and build resilience in Africa (2022-2026).
Learn more here on the Africa Resilience Forum 2021.