Geographies in Depth

Africa's businesses are its secret weapon against climate change

African companies are taking initiatives and responsibility for the fight against climate change — despite the continent contributing less than 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

African companies are taking initiatives and responsibility for the fight against climate change — despite the continent contributing less than 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Collen Dlamini
Group Corporate Affairs Executive, MultiChoice
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  • Africa, while contributing just 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, is set to face some of the worst consequences of climate change.
  • African economies have already taken a hit of between 5% and 15% to their economies as a result of climate change.
  • However, a growing number of businesses in the country are working on innovative solutions to climate change that improve adaptation and mitigation.

Despite accounting for just 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, climate change disproportionately hurts Africa. It poses a considerable threat to human well-being and development on the continent.

Many African countries are heavily-reliant on climate-vulnerable sectors such as energy, tourism, water and agriculture to survive and grow their economies.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)’s State of the Climate in Africa 2021 report, extreme weather and climate change are undermining human health and safety, food and water security and socio-economic development on the African continent.

Africa's continental climate crisis

Worringly, the report also found that the rate of temperature rise across Africa is faster than the global average, and that 2021 ranked between the third and fourth warmest year on record for Africa. The African Development Bank has acknowledged the impact of climate change on Africa, and has pointed out that African economies have already taken a hit of between 5% and 15% to their economies as a result of climate change.

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Curbing the climate crisis requires creating awareness of the severity of climate change in Africa, reducing emissions from key industrial value chains, the restoration of forest landscapes and investing in low carbon transport among other crucial interventions.

While climate activists around the world continue to consistently urge world leaders and other relevant stakeholders to save our planet, combatting the climate crisis requires a multi-disciplinary approach — given the scale of the challenge, collaboration between government, the private sector, activists, consumers, educational institutions and the media is essential.

Through its expertise and resources, the private sector can be at the forefront of this major social transformation. Not merely corporate box-ticking exercise, the private sector’s efforts in fighting climate change should be seen as an opportunity to create a meaningful and lasting contribution toward the fight against climate change and global movement to create a sustainable planet.

African expertise is moving to the fore

Some companies in Africa have already heeded this call.

Born and bred in Africa, entertainment and media company MultiChoice is investing in Africa and has committed to helping deliver a sustainable future for the continent. Now MultiChoice is collaborating with The Earthshot Prize, an ambitious global environmental prize, with the goal of finding innovative solutions to the world’s biggest environmental problems.

The partnership between MultiChoice and the Earthshot Prize has the potential to make a massive positive impact in the fight against climate challenge. Innovative and scalable climate change solutions are at the heart of this work. This colaborative approach recognises and supports unique local solutions that speaks to communities at the grassroots level.

A less-often cited part of the fight against climate change, the media has a clear role to play in bringing to ebar its unique position to create awareness and mobilize communities and populations to rally behind the cause.

Multichoice is not the only African company collaborating with The Earthshot Prize.

The Earthshot Prize was launched in 2021 with three African organizations selected as finalists: Sanergy from Kenya, Reeddi Capsules from Nigeria and Pole Pole Foundation from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sanergy, based in Nairobi, takes a circular economy approach to managing organic waste in Africa’s fast-growing cities by converting it into regenerative agricultural inputs — insect-based protein for animal feed, organic fertilizer for farming and ecofuel.

Pole Pole Foundation is a grass roots NGO whose goal is to protect the critically endangered Eastern gorillas which live in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Only thousands of them remain, their population ecimated by illegal hunting.

Reeddi leverages its proprietary and innovative technology to provide clean, reliable and affordable electricity to people, households and businesses operating in the energy-poor regions of the world. Currently, Reeddi serves more than 1,000 households and businesses every month in Nigeria.

These finalists have access to resources across numerous professions and sectors including manufacturing, retail, supply chains, legal advice, digital technology, business strategy and government relations — and they are using them for the betterment of the African people and planet.

A common framework and collaboration against climate change

As the climate crisis intensifies, it is critical that a common framework and network to address climate change risks is established and a new generation of climate change initiatives are formed in Africa.

There are numerous initiatives and projects, beyond The Earthshot Prize finalists, already underway on the African continent designed to mitigate or improve resilience against climate challenges. However, to be successful, these projects need capacity, improved decision making, policy mainstreaming and evidence-based decision making.

The Global Alliance, a network of organizations convened by The Earthshot Prize in support of the Prize's ideals, is aiming to do this. The Alliance provides a network for founders and workers to collaborate for the betterment of their own projects and shared goal.

Members include non-profit and international organizations committed to the environment and sustainable development. Members include the World Economic Forum, Greenpeace, UN Environment Programme, National Geographic, and many more — all united in their ambition to incentivise change and help to repair our planet over the next ten years. Supporting The Earthshot Prize is one way to do just this.

Ultimately, dealing with climate change globally — and particularly in Africa, which will feel the crisis most acutely — must be a collaborative effort.

No individual, company for even industry has sole power to end the climate crisis. It is a global crisis that must be addressed at a global scale, and initiatives that improve collaboration, like the EarthShot Prize Global Alliance, are an essential part in what will one day prove to be humanity’s greatest achievement: ending climate change, and providing a stable and sustainable planet for countless future generations.

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Geographies in DepthClimate Action
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