Climate change has a growing impact on the African continent, affecting the most vulnerable hardest and contributing to food insecurity, displacement, and stress on natural resources. Since 2020, the human and economic toll of climate change has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent UN report finds that the number of disasters driven by climate change, such as floods and heatwaves, have increased fivefold over the past 50 years, killing world-wide more than 2 million people, and costing $3.64 trillion in total losses. More than 91% of the deaths occurred in developing countries, many of which are on the African continent. Moreover, Africa faces a serious infrastructure gap. Nearly 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to grid electricity, for example, and the region also has substantial needs in other key infrastructure measures. The Economic Commission for Africa estimates that to promote access to services in key sectors and boost economic transformation on the continent, hundreds of billions of dollars will need to be invested in climate-sensitive sectors annually, such as infrastructure, agriculture, energy, and water.

As emphasized by the G20, robust physical infrastructure is key to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals including inclusive growth, poverty alleviation, and good governance. In this context, improvement in public investment management (PIM) systems is critical to addressing African infrastructure development needs. Many African countries seek to increase the share of public spending on capital expenditures to accelerate growth and poverty alleviation. This raises the importance of ensuring value for money and increasing the return on infrastructure investments. Climate change poses a new set of challenges to PIM, because it introduces novel environmental and market conditions over the lifespan of investments. Infrastructure will be susceptible to damage and loss due to the increased intensity of extreme weather events. Changing market conditions as the world decarbonizes will affect the economic viability of assets. A failure to predict future climatic and economic conditions not only puts infrastructure and public assets at risk, but also increases the vulnerability of households and businesses.

Climate-Smart PIM is an opportunity for individual countries – and the Africa region as a whole – to make the transformation to low-carbon and resilient development. A climate-smart PIM system is an important tool for governments to implement their international climate change commitments in national policies and across all sectors. In the absence of a well-functioning PIM system, countries’ ability to address climate change through public and private investments will be severely undermined.

On October 19, 2021, the World Bank and Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action co-sponsored a high-level event on Climate-Smart Public Investment Management in Africa with African Ministers of Finance and Planning, international climate change leaders, and World Bank AFE and AFW Regional Vice Presidents as part of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Annual Meetings. Building on the exchanges and strategic guidance from the high-level event, the “Africa Climate-Smart PIM Week” will discuss key principles and practical steps for mainstreaming the climate change agenda in public investment management in Africa. The workshop will share country experiences and practices, identify possible practical steps for mainstreaming climate change institutional aspects, and present available support and tools the World Bank and other development partners can provide to assist client countries in developing their climate agendas. WORKSHOP PROGRAM April 4-7 – ENG