Africa, responsible for only 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, bears the brunt of climate change, Thomas Kwesi Quartey, AU Commission Deputy Chairperson, said on Sunday.
Speaking at a press briefing on disaster risk financing in Africa, Quartey told reporters that the most vulnerable populations on the African continent, with the most limited capabilities to cope, shoulder the burden of climate risk.
The increased frequency of extreme weather events driven by climate change has increased the risk of hunger and malnutrition in Africa’s most vulnerable populations, Quartey said at the briefing during the ongoing 29th AU summit in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
Referring to Africa’s agricultural sector, which employs about 90 percent of the continent’s rural population, the deputy chairperson affirmed that approximately two-thirds of the populations of the sub-Saharan Africa are subject to the effects of climate change as they are dependent on subsistence farming.
He called on AU member states to do more in combating the challenges of climate change by employing proactive measures, saying that “responding before a disaster evolves into a crisis or catastrophe should be the major target.”
The climate change’s negative impact on Africa once again drew attention during the summit, especially after the United States government announced in June its decision to exit the Paris climate agreement, with AU officials criticizing the move and calling upon the United States to rejoin.
Quartey further lauded the African Risk Capacity (ARC) for its support to African countries with prompt funds in the event of natural disaster.
The ARC, established in 2012 as a specialized agency of the AU, aspires to help member states improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters.
He said the insurance fund, in its three years of full operations, has paid out over 34 million U.S. dollars to four African countries, enriching over 2 million drought-affected people and approximately 1 million endangered cattle.