Professor Chukwumerije Okereke

The West owes Africa $100 billion (at least) for climate recovery

by Chukwumerije Okereke

This week, as about 100 world leaders gather to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 76), a call for rich countries to urgently scale-up assistance to help Africa address the twin challenges of climate catastrophe and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic  is required. With the largely successful vaccination campaign in most of rich countries and the recent event in Afghanistan, there is a tendency that the need to help Africa address the impact of COVID-19 and get on the path of green and climate-resilient economic recovery could be relegated in the agenda of the world leaders.

Only recently, because of the unprecedented floods in Western countries including Spain, Germany, and the United States of America, rich countries are beginning to awake to the devastating impact of climate change and the need for emergency measures to deal with climate change-induced loss and damage within their territories. However, Africa, the Small Island States and many poor countries around the world have long been living with the crippling impact of climate change and much of this impact has not been fully appreciated by rich countries who are mostly responsible for climate change.

Dangerously-epic proportions

Indeed, the African climate change context had passed dangerously-epic proportions. Nigeria, for example, has witnessed intense and unprecedented scale of flooding in the past 5 years. The  International Federation of the Red Cross and Crescent Societies reports that in September 2020 alone, torrential rainfall, river floods, and flash floods affected 192,594 people across 22 states in Nigeria (including 826 injuries, 155 fatalities, and 24,134 displacements). Little, if any of this, was reported by international news agencies.

An estimated 27 to 53 million people in Nigeria might have to relocate with a (0.5 m) increase in sea level. Sea level rise is threatening other low-lying countries in Africa with research suggesting that cities like Abidjan, Cape Town, and Dar es Salaam will be totally submerged with (1.0m) global sea level rise. At the same time, oil and diamond-mine infrastructure in coastal African countries worth trillions of dollars are very susceptible to sea level rise and coastal erosion.

Climate change is also causing a decrease in productivity of many staple food crops in Africa. About 86 percent of Africa’s agriculture is rain-fed, implying that even moderate variations in rainfall, temperature and precipitation patterns could have immediate impact on agricultural production. Analysts determine that climate change will reduce crop productivity by up to 20 percent, 30 percent and, in some cases, 50 percent over the next 20 or 30 years. Again, the anticipated loss runs into several billions of dollars and the situation is bound to worsen food and other dimensions of insecurity in Africa.

According to recent preliminary estimates the total economic impact of climate impact, which has been worsened by and COVID 19 pandemic could cost Africa $200 billion annually by 2070. The real number may well be far beyond that. For example, a study done by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) now merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) indicated that climate change could cost Nigeria alone $460 billion by 2050.

Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic

The impact of climate change in Africa has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although case fatality rates for COVID-19 have not been as much as originally feared at the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, the social and economic impact of COVID-19 in Africa has been devastating and potentially long-lasting. Economies in Africa were growing at about 3% GDP before COVID-19 but are now projected to suffer between 2% and 8% recession as a result of the pandemic. The African Development Bank indicates that the continent’s economy will contract between $173.1 and $236.7 billion in 2020/2021. The region is further expected to witness inflation of up to 5%, alongside a dramatic fall in remittance and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2021 and beyond. The same AfDB sources indicate up to 30 million jobs could be lost and between 28 to 49 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty.

Climate and COVID-19 have indeed put Africa in the eye of the storm and many of the governments have no idea how to recover from the worst recession that has befallen them in more than half a century. Many African countries have been stretched to their limits in terms of financial and socio-economic resilience. The debt profile of many of these countries has risen dramatically and in many cases to levels that are widely considered as unstainable. Views in this way, one can see that climate change and COVID-19 have put the future generations of Africa in debt to rich countries.

Rich Countries Must Bear Responsibility

African citizens and governments are aggrieved by the fact that they are being forced to bear the disproportionate impact of COVID19 and climate change neither of which they have caused.   In less than three days, an average American citizen emits as much carbon as does an average person from Chad or Niger Republic in one year. Such is the huge asymmetry in the culpability for climate change. Yet the West have grown accustomed to offering warm words and promises while Africa is being strangulated by climate change. At the same time, the global transition to the green economy may also leave Africa worse off with several millions of job loss and trillions worth of oil and gas reserve that will have to be left in the ground in order to meet global carbon emission cuts.

Given the role of rich countries in imposing the risk of climate change and COVID-19 pandemic on Africa, it is arguable that 50 percent of the projected $ 200 billion cost of climate change to Africa should be borne by rich countries.  This would imply that rich countries owe Africa at least $100 billion for climate related loss and damage and several billions to help boost recovery from COVI19-pandemic.

In United Nations General Assembly meeting in November 2967, African foremost diplomat Avird Pardo helped to lay the foundation for the present-day international cooperation and management of the world sea, when in his historic speech at the floor of the United Nations General Assembly he urged delegates to consider the resources of the oceans beyond national jurisdiction as “the common heritage of mankind”.  This week, Africa needs another “Avird Pardo moment” in the UNGA meeting. The United Nations General Assembly should rise to reaffirm that climate change is a common concern for mankind and that Africa deserves, not handouts, but generous compensation and meaningful investment to help it address the impact of climate change imposed on it by the rich countries. At the same time, the UN should provide a commitment that  the voices of those that are disproportionally suffering from the impact of climate change will not be marginalized in the forthcoming UN COP26 Climate talks in November for there are already strong indications that unequal vaccine access, rising travel and accommodation costs as well as high rates of COVID-19 infection might limit the participation of African countries among others in global climate talks at the 26th Conference of the Parties.

Africa is already showing climate ambition

To be sure, Africa is not folding its arms and waiting for the rest of the world to bail it out.  Across the continent, there are many signs that African governments are willing to take strong action on climate change. Nigeria has recently submitted a revised Nationally Determined Contributions that promises 20% Green House Gas emission reduction by 2030.  Several other countries like the Gambia, Congo, Malawi, Namibia and Liberia have also submitted revised NDCs. Nigeria has raised $60+ million in green bonds; the country has also strengthened its 2030 emission targets with specificity on addressing emissions reductions from the waste sectors and increasing conditional contributions. Malawi and South Africa have developed a fund to finance green growth projects while Rwanda has created its $11 billion, 10-year Climate Plan among others.

However, Africa has received very limited financial support for its climate recovery efforts beyond warm words more so when they are being asked to sacrifice their development aspirations to help meet global carbon targets.  A new green deal for Africa worth billions is needed to encourage Africa to leave their oil in the ground and embrace green agriculture, renewable energy and green transportation all of which can provide strong economic advantage to the continent. There has been far too much warm words, UNGA should mark a key moment for action with substantial pledges made by the rich countries to offer investments that will promote green and climate resilient recovery for Africa.

Prof Okereke is Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development, at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria


 This article first appeared at Premium Times Opinion on 6 September 2021



CCCD-AEFUNAI Joins Global Consortium to Launch A New Report on What Developing Countries Want from COP26

Earlier today, the Center for Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike (CCCD-AEFUNAI)  joined the other partners of ACTS2025 Alliance partners to launch a brand-new report on Securing an Ambitious and Just Outcome at COP26 insights from Climate Vulnerable Countries. Allied for Climate Transformation by 2025 (ACT2025) is a consortium of think tanks and experts mostly from developing countries working to deliver ambitious, balanced, just, and equitable outcomes at COP26. They have a specific aim to elevate and amplify the needs and priorities of developing countries in climate governance as a way of charting a path toward greater global solidarity. Other members of the report include the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CARICOMClimate), the Manila Observatory, PowerShftAfrica, the  International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) based in Bangladesh, TransformaGlobal and World Resources Institute based in Washington DC, USA.

The report makes the case that 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow a decisive, no-turning-back opportunity to keep the pathways to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement alive by advancing its implementation and translating commitments to real action on the ground. It is also a critical moment to rebuild trust, restore justice, and strengthen solidarity between developed and developing countries and reinforce confidence in the multilateral climate regimes. Success at COP26 can only be achieved if developed countries and major emitters demonstrate genuine leadership and show credible commitment to transformative change, and real cooperation and solidarity with climate-vulnerable countries to solve the climate crisis.

The Consortium through the reports then proceeds to set out key demands for vulnerable countries in five key areas including (i) Ambition, (ii) Finance, (iii) Adaptation; (iv) Loss and Damage; and (v) Rule and Architecture of the Climate Regime process.

On Ambition the group called for credible commitments especially by developed countries to close the gap toward limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C. They said it is required that all countries should submit commitments by no later than 2025 that reflect higher ambition and greater resilience based on the findings of IPCC reports and the outcomes of the global stocktake, and strongly encourage countries whose latest NDCs do not align with the 1.5°C temperature goal to submit an early update of their NDCs by 2023.

On Finance, the report calls for urgency in the scale up of climate finance and in making  it more accessible. Developed countries, they said must update their climate finance pledges to meet the commitment of US$100 billion per year by COP26 and adopt a roadmap for delivering, at a minimum, $500 billion over the period 2020–24. Furthermore, rich countries must acknowledge that trillions rather than billions need to be mobilized or shifted to achieve a 1.5°C-aligned transformation of our economy and society, and launch a robust process to set up a new finance goal based on lessons learned, science, and the needs of developing countries.

On Adaptation, the group called for increase in adaptation pledges and specifically that finance from developed countries should reach parity between adaptation and mitigation by 2024,as well as ensure more access to grants and concessional finance for adaptation, especially for the most vulnerable countries. They also called for improvement in the tracking and assessment of climate adaptation action, and predictability of adaptation finance. They called on Parties to the UNFCCC to request the IPCC to develop guidelines that facilitate the assessment of progress on adaptation, produce a special report on adaptation progress, and further elaborate the assessment of adaptation progress in its Seventh Assessment Report.

On Loss and Damage, the group called on countries to shift focus toward the proper implementation of actions addressing losses and damages due to climate impacts. They demanded for the establishment of Loss and Damage as a permanent agenda item under the Subsidiary Bodies and called for efforts to operationalize the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage needs to go beyond a website towards the establishment of a more effective mechanism to catalyze and deliver the needed technical assistance to vulnerable countries.

On Rules and Architecture, the group 3 called on Parties to adopt overdue rules for Paris implementation that foster ambition, promote equity, ensure integrity, and are inclusive. This include to adopt additional guidance for the enhanced transparency framework and the global stocktake that fosters trust, is comprehensive, ensures the inclusive assessment and understanding of countries’ efforts, and informs the most ambitious decisions needed in this decade. They also demanded that parties should come to an agreement on five-year common time frames for nationally determined contributions (NDCs) starting with the 2025 submissions, in sync with the five-year ambition cycle of the Paris Agreement and in response to the urgency highlighted by the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), published by the IPCC.

The group says Glasgow is the last opportunity to keep the 1.5°C goal alive. Failure to deliver ambitious outcomes in Glasgow will move the world closer to condemning the most vulnerable nations and communities, including the generations to come, to the costliest, most dangerous future. They said that it is in the interest of all nations, both developed and developing, that governments act with solidarity, courage, to deliver a more sustainable, prosperous, and just future for developing countries and the rest of the world.

For the full report please visit the CCCD-AEFUNAI website at ,  Access the ACT2025 Alliance Statement 

Prof. Chukwumereije

Ekwueme varsity centre’s reports seek to enhance Nigeria’s NDCs revision

The Centre for Climate Change and Development Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo (CCCD AE-FUNAI), Ebonyi State, has published several reports that are related to the revision of the Nigeria Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The reports, which are outputs from the ongoing project by the Centre titled “Promoting Public Engagement with Nigerian NDC Revision and Climate Action” in collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI), covered the following topics:

  • Analysis of the Adaptation components that could be included in Nigeria’s revised NDCs.
  • Options for promoting climate-smart Agriculture in the new NDCs in Nigeria.
  • An assessment of Nigeria’s implementation of its original nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and implementations for the revised version.
  • Energy scenarios for Nigerians nationally determined contributions (NDCs) revision
  • Strengthening the role of the private sector in meeting Nigeria’s NDCs targets.
  • Legal perspectives to raising ambition and implementing the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in Nigeria.

The reports were commissioned to increase public awareness of, and engagement with, Nigeria’s climate change plan to help in the ongoing revision process of Nigeria NDCs, which will be due for submission later this year (2021).

The report on Analysis of the Adaptation Components that could be included in Nigeria’s Revised NDCs shows that a review of the adaptation section of Nigeria’s NDC indicates that the range of sectors it includes as climate priorities are narrow, according to the director of CCCD AE-FUNAI, Prof Chukwumerije Okereke.

According to him, yhey do not cover enough sectors that could upscale the ability of the country to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development sustainably.

The report on Options for promoting Climate-smart Agriculture in the new NDCs in Nigeria explained that the new NDC must be ambitious and comprehensive and contribute to the global goal of limiting temperature rise to below 2degrees Celsius (20C). Nigeria’s agriculture, forestry, and other land-use sectors play a prominent role in its economic development and food security.

Prof Okereke noted that the sector is highly vulnerable to climate change due to insignificant dependence on rain-fed conditions and is dominated by smallholder farmers with limited adaptive capacity.

On the Assessment of Nigeria’s implementation of its original NDCs and implications for the revised version, the scholars argued that the Paris Agreement and the NDC tools remain a turning point in the country’s efforts to achieve mitigation and reach adaptation milestones to curb the monster called climate change.

They stressed that a detailed and result oriented delivery of activities in the NDC implementation index for Nigeria and the consequent monitoring and tracking of efforts would go a long way towards positioning the country on the path towards a low-carbon and resourceful-efficient trajectory.

The report on Energy Scenario for Nigerian’s NDCs Revisions listed the various gaps in the existing NDCs to include: circumvention subsisting energy-related policies, lumped energy efficiency pathways, over-concentration on solar PV, neglect of the residential sector, neglect of advanced emissions control technology, and neglect off-grid renewable energy utilisation.

In the paper on Strengthening the Role of the Private Sector in meeting Nigeria’s NDCs targets, the authors said that the awareness about the Paris Agreement, climate change, and the NDC is still low. They identified some of the factors responsible for the poor participation of the sector in Nigeria’s NDC to include the low capacity to transform NDCs implementation plans into investment-ready projects, low support to create pilot projects that demonstrate new investment schemes to accelerate adaptation and mitigation actions, low awareness of the Paris Agreement, climate change and NDC – a significant barrier to moving forward with concrete climate action, low capacities to develop appropriate financial proposals or requests for funding assistance from different sources and the specific sectors identified in the NDC.

Also inclusive is a lack of a supportive investment environment with clear and transparent regulations and well-designed policy incentives for the private sector to contribute to financing climate actions. This is said to have hampered the support to create pilot projects that demonstrate new investment schemes to accelerate adaptation and mitigation actions.

In the paper on Legal Perspective to raising ambition and implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Nigeria, the scholars noted that Nigeria currently does not have any legislation that directly addresses climate action in Nigeria. Although there are some legislative instruments with climate co-benefits, the main instrument guiding climate change action in Nigeria is a policy instrument that Nigeria climate change policy response and strategy (NCCPRS) adopted in 2012.

Addressing climate policies however important are not enforceable and cannot take the place of legislation, added the scholars, pointing out that the Climate Change Bill, 2019 has undergone the legislative process several times but has not received presidential assent and had therefore not been passed into law.

The reports were written by national and international experts and are intended to complement the revision of the NDCs that is being organised by the Federal Government.

Prof Okereke said he is delighted that the Centre has made a substantial contribution to the revision of the NDCs and hopes that the government and wider stakeholders will find these reports useful.

“Each of these reports focused on the critical sectors in the NDCs revision and the Paris Agreement which Nigeria is a party. The various topics were analysed and solutions proffered; if the government can utilise the solutions and suggestions of these erudite scholars it will help Nigeria to achieve its NDCs targets and meet up with the Paris Agreement.

“Many of these reports were subject to extensive stakeholder consultation and webinars held from last year (2020) to this year,” Okereke submitted.

The working papers can be downloaded here:

Culled from Environews under the article

CCCD-AEFUNAI, WRI Launch Climate Change Art Contest

The Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, in collaboration with World Resources Institute, Washington D.C., has launched its second competition entitled ‘Promoting Climate Action through Art’, as part of its ongoing project on “Promoting Public Engagement with Nigeria’s NDC and Climate Action” project. The competition which is titled “Promoting climate action through art” is designed to create further awareness and promote public engagement on the ongoing NDC revision in Nigeria.

The competition which was officially launched on the 1st of June, 2021, is open to all Nigerian citizens, and only those following the centre’s Facebook and twitter handles are qualified to participate.

Closing Date

The closing date for submission is the 21st of June, 2021. The arts which are accepted for this competition include: spoken words; such as monologues, poems, short stories etc, short lyrics and paintings.


All entries submitted will be assessed internally by our team of experts and top ten entries will be shortlisted for the final phase of the competition. The top ten shortlist will be posted on our Facebook page for our followers to like and comment on them. The entries will be ranked based on the number of likes and comments they generate for the period, and that will constitute 50% of the total scoring, while the remaining 50% will based on the internal assessment from our team of experts.


1st position – N75, 000.000

2nd position – N50, 000.000

3rd position – N25, 000.000

All entries should be submitted in video format (1-2 mins) via , Whatsapp: 07064486622

Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo

Reminder: INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN Webinar on Adaptation and Climate Smart Agriculture in the new Nigeria’s NDC

Development and climate experts and policy makers in adaptation and smart agriculture sector from Nigeria and across the world will gather in a virtual event to discuss how adaption and smart agriculture could be properly integrated in the presently revised Nigeria’s NDC and climate action.

In the webinar, experts will explore ways in which the private sector could play more active and “meaningful” roles in the design and implementation of African NDCs and climate action more broadly.  Panellist will also explore the barriers against greater involvement of the private sector in climate change action as well as the implication of climate change to the private sector.

The webinar entitled “Adaptation and Smart Agriculture in the new Nigeria’s NDC”, is being organised by the Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD), Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (AEFUNAI), Ebonyi State, in partnership with World Resources Institute (WRI) Washington DC. It will hold on Thursday, May 20th, 2021 at 4pm to 5.30pm West African Time (WAT).

The webinar is part of a project aimed at injecting independent critical analysis into, and increasing public engagement and awareness, in the revision process of Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) due for submission later this year.

Please join us on this important webinar to discuss the findings by leading national experts.

We look forward to seeing you.

To join the webinar, click on this link (Participation is free but registration is required)

Date: Thursday, 20th May, 2021

Time: 4:00 pm – 5.30 pm WAT

 The webinar will feature Dr. Robert Onyeneke, of the Department of Agriculture, AE-FUNAI, Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo, of the Department of Geography, University of Lagos, and Professor Daniel Gwary, Director, Centre for Arid Zone Studies, University of Maiduguri as panelists and discussant while Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, Director, CCCD AEFUNAI, is the host and facilitator.

Please feel free to share among your networks and contacts.