African Climate Action Roundtable

Theme: Scaling up climate finance and adaptation towards greater resilience in Africa.

The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Resilience and Prosperity recently participated in the African Climate Action Roundtable 2024, held on the 7-8 May in Johannesburg, South Africa. African Climate Action Roundtable is an event designed to gather stakeholders from diverse sectors to address pressing challenges in Africa's climate action and food security landscape. Co-organized by prominent global actors and esteemed African institutions in the climate change and food security spaces, this roundtable seeks to drive collaboration, innovation, and coordination of efforts for sustainable change.

Winfred Kinuthia the Fund Grants, Finance and Operations manager represented the Fund in a panel discussion titled,” Scaling-up climate finance and adaptation in Africa”. She highlighted the climate finance gap in Africa and the minimal contribution of the private sector to the current climate finance flow in the continent. She also emphasised the role that grant funding plays in de-risking the climate adaptation and mitigation space catalysing climate finance flows from the private sector. Lastly, she spoke about the Fund and its contribution to climate finance through the Agribusiness Challenge Fund which is looking to support SMEs within the climate smart agriculture space as well as through the larger Climate Challenge Fund to be launched late on in the year. She spoke on the eligibility criteria and the focus countries where the Fund will be implemented and encouraged potentially eligible SMEs to submit applications as well as share information on the Fund within their networks.

Winfred Kinuthia accompanied by the Fund Communications Associate, Kelly Ochieng, also attended various other sessions held at the African Climate Action roundtable including a session on the African climate and African leadership where the panellists highlighted the importance of decarbonizing the global economy for equality and shared prosperity. They also called for investment to promote the sustainable use of Africa’s natural assets for the continent’s transition to low carbon development and contribution to global decarbonization. They shared the same point of view that many African countries face disproportionate burdens and risks from climate change-related, unpredictable weather events and patterns. The impacts have included prolonged droughts and devastating floods, which cause massive humanitarian crisis with detrimental impacts on economies, health, education, peace, and security, among other risks. Leaders acknowledged that climate change is the single greatest challenge facing humanity and the single biggest threat to all. The discussion led to the panellists agreeing there should be a proposal of a new financing architecture responsive to Africa’s needs including debt restructuring and relief.

The Fund team also attended parallel round tables that took place including a  roundtable on scaling up adaptation in Africa the discussion highlighted the importance of innovation and partnerships in closing these knowledge gaps, agreeing that knowledge should not only flow from global to local levels but also from local to global levels. It will help the global community understand what is needed from the local level, and to find out about new innovative solutions on the ground. The participants stressed the need for funding opportunities to be more accessible to local actors. The Fund team attended a second roundtable on Early Warning Systems (EWS) & Technological Innovations emphasised the need to invest in effective Early Warning Systems in Africa reason being they monitor and predict hazards, such as floods, landslides, and droughts, and aim to reduce the risks associated with them. They use organized communications networks and preparedness processes to keep people safe. An effective Early Warning System (EWS) gives people the knowledge and skills they need to prepare themselves, and vital warning time to protect themselves when a disaster is forecast. By acting before a hazard hits, the impact of disasters can be reduced. Most crucially, lives can be saved.

The event was very insightful and gave the team a lot of information and new outlook on how to better structure the upcoming climate adaptation challenge Fund. The Fund team had the opportunity to network share insights, build on the Funds database and interact with relevant target audiences and stakeholders.