COVID-19 continues to race across the African continent. People are dying, and even more are being pushed into hunger and poverty, in many cases risking to overturn years of development gains.
The numbers are staggering. While the pandemic is only now taking root in Africa, there are at least 400,000 confirmed cases, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the outbreak is accelerating across the continent.
Add to this the risks of hunger and poverty. Three out of four people on the continent are food insecure. More than 320 million people are without access to safely managed drinking water, and over half the population lack access to any sanitation.
While this pandemic has already taken hundreds of thousands of lives, there are far greater risks on the horizon for the African people.
Left unchecked, climate change, environmental destruction, rising sea levels, droughts, floods and other environmental risks could trigger mass migration, increase conflict and disrupt, if not reverse, a decade of economic growth.
“It is imperative that post-COVID-19 stimulus packages integrate short and long term climate impacts as well as unlock significant appropriate technological and financial solution packages, for robust economic recovery and enhanced resilience for the wellbeing of people and ecosystems,” said Ambassador Seyni Nafo, Coordinator of the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI).