Every season brings about new global issues to battle with. Tsunamis in Asia; swine flu battles, credit crunch in America, global economic recession and now-- climate change. Africa is making its voice heard as hard as possible in a bid to salvage some financial pledges made by the west toward helping Africa deal with the climate problem.
The climate change conference in Copenhagen, Dennmark in 2009 was supposed to highlight the challenges of “developing nations” and their quest to redeem financial pledges to address the challenge and the need to get industrialized nations reduce their greenhouse emissions. The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Donald Kaberuka told Reuters that he wanted to see a “willingness by rich countries to dig into their pockets to enable low-income countries to adapt to climate change.” He adds that “Climate change is costing this continent almost 3 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) per year. Now translate that into numbers, the kind of things we need: about $40 billion a year,” he told Reuters in an interview.
The leader of the African delegation to the talks-Prime minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia said the European Union will commit $ 10billion dollars per annum and would by 2020 provide $100billion to assist Africa manage climate change challenges.
The effects of climate change on the continent are evident. In Liberia, the coastline of Monrovia and its environs are under serious threat from the encroaching ocean. Schools and churches along the coast have been wiped away. Erratic rainfall patterns have affected farming in parts of the country. In Ghana, frequent power outages which are detrimental to industrial productivity can be blamed on the low availability of water from electricity dams.
What is Africa approach to this crisis? From observation- our biggest shot on this issue is the expectation of financial redemption from the west. If the west drags its feet as it is currently the case, does that mean that our hopes are doomed? God forbid. Africa is not the pity of the earth to always be on the receiving end in major global relationships. It is not wrong to ask for assistance to solve problems but when over 70% of all attempts to address our issues are expectations of financial salvation from abroad is a fundamental flaw. It is time to take our place.
Let us open up these issues for discussions among our people. Take bold steps by asking our citizens, institutions and businesses to contribute a dollar each to a noble cause. Bring together human resource expertise and initiate powerful home grown solutions to national problems. The tree planting exercise for instance is a noble one to support and make a national project.
A change of mindsets to national problems and effective leadership will bring a whole new dimension to how we address issues. How about getting those directly affected by climate change as part of the solution?
More issues would arise overtime; but when Africans see themselves as solutions rather than problem children, the answers to life greatest challenges would be unearthed. You’re an answer to a vision, not a helpless creature. Take control or be consumed. Africa has Hope Because Africa has you.