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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Debt crises cripple climate change fight

Story by Memory Chamisa

INTERNATIONAL debts are weighing down on African countries’ ability to transition to renewable energy and the implementation of mitigatory and adaptation strategies to climate change.

Zimbabwe is among several Sub-Saharan countries to have experienced the harsh side of climate change with floods, cyclones and droughts being more frequent than before

At the Africa Green, Waste Management and Energy Expo and Summit, which ended in Harare this Friday, stakeholders concurred that a debt overhang is affecting Zimbabwe and other African countries’ capacity to implement the Just Transition to Renewable Energy.

“Zimbabwe is a country that is in debt distress and this has crippled us in terms of the Just Transition that we need to make in terms of renewable energy because the finances that are available come in the form of loans not grants. As a country we do have an energy crisis that has also seen the SADC region being affected but coming back home we have a lot of solar energy that if supported Zimbabwe can be able to supply to other countries, hence the issue of loans but be put aside,” said Action Aid – Interim Head of Programmes and Resource Mobilisation, Ms Rumbidzayi Makoni.

“Africa cannot borrow to finance just transition for climate change. What is sad is we do not emit as much as the Global North, which is also lending money to already burdened countries that continuously suffer the adverse effects of climate change. Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Zambia all went through horrendous floods and cyclones that saw lives being lost, and infrastructure being destroyed they are seized with rebuilding and instead of them being assisted with grants, those with the financing muscle out loans instead of grants,” noted Action Aid South Africa, Representative Mining and Extractives – Mr Sifiso Dladla.

It also emerged at the conference that African countries are losing an average of 2,5 percent of their gross domestic product due to climate change each year.

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