lopes11_KOLA SULAIMONAFP via Getty Images_smallholder farmers africa climate change KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images

The Rich World’s Empty Climate Promises

Climate action was a key topic at the recent spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. But somehow the world’s enduring failure to fulfill its climate-finance commitments to developing countries did not get the attention it deserved.

CAPE TOWN – The pandemic wreaked havoc on African economies, hampering GDP growth and straining government budgets. The war in Ukraine now threatens to make things much worse, including by disrupting food supplies and compounding inflationary pressures. But when these shocks pass, many African countries will still be struggling with the effects of climate change – and with the advanced economies’ failure to keep their commitments to help the continent cope.

Despite having contributed the least to global warming, Africa is the continent most vulnerable to its effects – a reality that has become impossible to ignore, as extreme weather events exacerbate food insecurity and destroy livelihoods. But most African countries lacked the fiscal space to invest adequately in adaptation even before the pandemic. Now, many are on the brink of debt distress.

Climate action was a key topic at the recent spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. But somehow the world’s enduring failure to fulfill its climate-finance commitments – beginning with the $100 billion the developed economies pledged to deliver to their developing counterparts every year from 2020 to 2025 – did not get the attention it deserved.

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