By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame in Morocco.
The Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Dr. Abdalla Hamdok has told participants at the Fourth annual Conference on Climate and Development in Africa (CCDA-IV) that Africa’s needs are unique and the continent faces exceptional climate challenges. He explained that Africa faces unique challenges of poor physical infrastructure, poor agricultural productivity and poor market access, as well as weak institutions and policies – factors which perpetuate circles of poverty and misery.
Even when farmers have bumper harvests they incur heavy post-harvest losses due the inability to transform, store and transport their produce to markets”, he said,calling for more efforts improve market access which would help address challenges of climate change by facilitating movement of food from areas of food surplus to those that suffer crop failure due impacts of climate change. “Therefore, efforts to transform its economies, including its agricultural sector, require clear understanding of the intricate relationships between water, energy and agriculture production and the need for efficient management and use of climate information in development”, he explained. Dr.Hamdok took the opportunity to lay special emphasis on issues of agricultural productivity within the context of the conference theme “Africa can Feed Africa Now: Translating Climate Knowledge into Action”.
He suggested that because Africa’s population livelihoods depend on the performance of the agricultural sector, countries need to invest more in the areas that it can foster the transformation of that sector, feed its people, sustain the economic momentum and create wealth along with ensuring inclusive economic development.
He stressed the need for African countries to adopt innovative agronomical practices such as conservation agriculture, making use of climate information,
using and managing water efficiently, improving rural infrastructure and enabling access to power. The opening session of CCDA-IV was also addressed by the Moroccan Minister Delegate for Energy, Mining, Water and Environment, .Harima El Haite; the Resident Representative of AfDB to the Kingdom of Morocco, Ms Yacine Fal, as well as by a representative of the African Union Commission.
The Fourth Annual Conference on Climate Change (CCDA-IV) is organized by the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) programme which is jointly implemented by the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank. The programme was entrusted with a mandate by the African Heads of States and Governments to improve climate information services in support of African development agenda.