By STEPHANIE KUNDA –
NATIONAL Development Planning Minister Alexander Chiteme has called on African countries to significantly invest in climate change adaptation and mitigation programme to reduce the negative impact on continent’s economic growth.
Mr Chiteme said yesterday at Hotel Laico L’amitié Bamako in Mali, where he featured as a panelist on a Ministerial Roundtable discussion under the theme: ‘Paradigm shift toward low-emission and climate-resilient sustainable development in Africa’ at the Green Climate Fund (GCF) organised Structured Dialogue with Africa.
This is according to a statement issued by the ministry’s spokesperson Chibaula Silwamba yesterday.
Mr Chiteme said the impacts of climate change would have a disproportional negative impact on developing countries due to their weak technological capacity and exacerbate poverty.
“Climate change is likely to reduce economic growth in developing countries and significant investments in climate change adaptation and mitigation are necessary,” Mr Chiteme said.
Mr Chiteme said most of African countries like Zambia depend on rain fed agriculture and the sector was mostly driven by the rural people.
He observed that any variation due to climate change in rainfall patterns, such as droughts and other harsh weather conditions, tended to affect food production and living condition.
“This in turn continue to pose challenges in economic growth and development of our countries,” said Mr Chiteme, and that about 60 per cent of Zambians depended on rain-fed agriculture.
He said reduction in cash crop production was a threat to Zambia’s national economic diversification, job creation agenda and the fight against poverty. “These are the cornerstones of our development trajectory as spelt out in our Seventh National Development Plan,” he told the gathering.
Mr Chiteme said when the agricultural sector’s capacity to sustain livelihoods was impaired people tend to look for other sources and rapid urbanisation tend to emanate, as was the case in Zambia at present.
He said urbanisation increases pressure to create jobs at a rapid rate, and further presses demand on provision of social services such as education, health, renewable energy and water and sanitation facilities.
“At country level, we are taking measures to investment in the production of renewable energy sources and enhance our technology to invest in agricultural production that can circumvent climate change variabilities, however the rate at which we are being affected by climate change is faster than our capacity to cope,” he said.
The Structured Dialogue with Africa had attracted National Designated Authorities and focal points from all 54 African countries, accredited entities, readiness delivery partners, civil society and other stakeholders to share views and experiences of their countries on paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient sustainable development among other objective.