Climate finance regional briefing: sub-Saharan Africa

Briefing papers
November 2016
Sam Barnard, Charlene Watson and Liane Schalatek

Although sub-Saharan Africa is responsible for only 4% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, it is the region most susceptible to the dangerous impacts of climate change, some of which are already being experienced. Of particular concern is the relationship between climate change, food production and food prices, and extreme weather conditions, which collectively threaten food security.  Indeed, the largest projected increases of people living in poverty because of climate change are expected in Africa, mainly due to the continent’s heavily agriculture-dependent economy.

Current levels of climate finance directed to sub-Saharan Africa are likely to be insufficient to meet the region’s demonstrated need for adaptation finance, estimated to reach $50 billion per year by 2050 under an optimistic two-degree centigrade warming scenario. The most disenfranchised, and therefore the most vulnerable population groups in the region, have received limited support so far. A significant barrier to investment is the transaction costs of the small-scale projects that are often required in the poorest areas. Public sector grant finance will continue to play a crucial role in allowing for significant environmental, developmental, social and gender equality co-benefits of climate actions in the region to be realised, particularly for adaption measures.

This briefing explores what climate finance has been provided to countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and to what extent this meets countries' needs.