Use rich polluters’ money for African agriculture – DW – 11/20/2022

Ugandan Vanessa Nakate, Uganda and other protesters holding up placards
Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate is among those who constantly highlight the effects of climate changeImage: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Straight from the conclusion of the Sharm el-Sheikh COP27 climate talks, African leaders must go back to the drawing board.

Now, more than ever, the continent needs to figure out how to help the millions of people affected by the devastating effects of climate change.

The truth of the matter is that funding from the wealthiest nations to help mitigate the effects of global warming is no longer a reliable source.

George Okach
DW’s George OkachImage: Private

Hunger will increase

Drought-induced famine is expected to reach “code red” levels in the Horn of Africa.

As a result, millions of vulnerable Africans are facing extreme hunger in the coming months, the UN has warned.

This destructive approach cannot wait for the endless climate change dialogue.

Africa must accept that it is on its own and take swift steps to help its population facing cyclical hunger.

A climate of mistrust spread

The climate talks, although decisive, have only increased mistrust between the South and the North.

It comes even as millions of Africans continue to smoke, every day, under extreme heat fueled by increased fossil fuel extraction and use, especially in the richest nations, which are the main polluters.

Sufferers will not wait patiently for ambitious climate action to be achieved through rhetoric.

The time to act is now, and Africa’s leaders cannot claim to have run out of ideas to save the suffering masses.

In fact, there is an idea that leaders are going back 20 years.

Activist: ‘In truth, we are prolonging the age of fossil fuels’

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Increasing spending on agriculture

In 2003, African governments made an ambitious commitment to allocate 10% of their annual national budget to the development of the food and agriculture sector.

This monumental commitment was known as the Maputo Declaration. His ambitions were ambitious, achievable and meaningful.

The idea was to alleviate the non-cyclical food insecurity of the continent’s most vulnerable people by 2030.

Until now, several African countries are struggling to realize this noble idea. Most countries still have a measly 4% annual allocation for agriculture, including Kenya, Uganda, Senegal.

The enormity of climate change reminds the continent that the implementation of the Maputo declaration is needed now more than ever.

And with money stuck in the pockets of rich polluters, Africa should see agriculture as a socio-economic game changer.

Agriculture, Africa’s sleeping giant

The central role of the agricultural sector on the continent cannot be emphasized enough. It is the livelihood of millions in terms of employment and sustenance.

Today, despite numerous constraints and choked resource allocation, the sector is still a promising reliable source of income.

Most leaders have reiterated their government’s commitment to revamping the sector, but all this has been mere rhetoric.

South African farmers try to adapt to droughts

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Why then neglect?

According to some economists, the continent’s current fiscal context makes it unrealistic for agriculture to account for 10% of the total budget.

This is because most African administrations have a huge debt load that is eating into their budgets.

Some nations have also prioritized other key sectors such as security, tourism, infrastructure and education.

But given the hard times that climate change is causing in part, is it too much to ask to redirect spending to agriculture?

Higher per capita expenditure is associated with better agricultural performance and is therefore a worthwhile risk.

If everything is done in the right way, the agricultural sector can be an excellent income generator to finance other sectors as well.

Furthermore, global warming has made it even more necessary to encourage research in this field, which will also have to be financed accordingly.

The continent needs to develop and use tolerant crop varieties, adequate pest control arsenals and advanced technologies.

This transformative push can be done alongside climate justice conversations. And the results will be a win-win situation for the entire continent.

Editing: Nicole Goebel

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