The collective challenge of climate change

From the Executive Director

1405AfricaProgressReport16Dear Friends,

Like so many others, we’re watching the Lima negotiations for signs of hope that a decent deal can be done on climate change in Paris next year. African negotiators say such a deal will include binding details on mitigation, adaptation, and compensation for loss and damage, plus reference to technology transfer, and capacity building too.

Here at the Africa Progress Panel, we’re well under way with next year’s report on Africa’s climate and energy issues. We’re grateful to those who have helped so far from African governments, business, and leading think tanks too. Many of you also contributed to our October meeting, in which our Chair, Kofi Annan, convened a thought-provoking discussion on the links and trade-offs between climate, energy, agriculture, and growth.

African nations are already suffering the effects of climate change, for example, so they naturally support efforts to minimise the emissions of global greenhouse gases. On the other hand, they also need power to boost and transform their economies…


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One challenge for African nations, therefore, will be to adopt the right balance between fossil and renewable energies.

Some investors and multinationals have also been looking to the future by opting out of carbon-intense resources. They have either sold their shares in oil companies or shifted their focus to renewable (not fossil) energies. Most oil and gas companies, however, are still racing to keep up with increasing transparency demands. The UK announced new transparency legislation this week for extractive companies. Commodity trader Trafigura announced last month it would disclose payments to governments compliant with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a move that might prove useful for more transparency in the Swiss commodities industry too.

Finally, this year’s G20 Summit touched on tax and infrastructure, two issues highlighted in recent Africa Progress Reports. The G20 and OECD have made impressive tax progress with their country-by-country reporting and automatic exchange of tax information. Some campaigners argue that when a financial jurisdiction endorses financial secrecy and tax avoidance, it supports the abuse of human rights too. The extent to which the OECD / G20 reforms benefit Africa still remains to be seen.

On Africa’s under-financed infrastructure, this year’s report – Grain, Fish, Money – urged governments to attract more investment. Panel Member Michel Camdessus will take these issues further when he hosts top economists, bankers, and financial experts next week. Participants will discuss solutions to generate more investment into Africa’s creaky, but utterly critical, infrastructure.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated, but that may have to wait until next year.

Caroline Kende-Robb

Caroline Kende-Robb served as Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel from September 2011 to January 2017.

Panel news
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4.1.1Panel Member Peter Eigen welcomes Trafigura transparency commitment

Swiss-based company commits to disclose payments to governments and national oil companies, says it is first commodity trader to join oil, gas, and mining companies already supporting the EITI.

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What we’re reading
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Transparency and accountability are crucial to building trust between governments and citizens, and facilitate discussion on how to best manage a country’s natural wealth.

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Unless we take the fight to the source, Ebola will spread further across Africa and globally, says Panel member Strive Masiyiwa.

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APP Panel member, HE Olusegun Obasanjo, and Deputy Director, Max Bankole Jarrett, both attended the recent Annual Leadership Symposium of the Pan-African Civil Society organization Africa 2.0 in Accra.

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