Africa shouldn’t need to beg for climate aid: Bank president

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, left, is joined by Masen President Mustapha Bakkoury during an event at UN headquarters in New York. (AP/File)
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Updated 11 February 2020

Africa shouldn’t need to beg for climate aid: Bank president

  • The financing promised to cope with climate change ‘needs to be put on the table’

ADDIS ABABA: Africa shouldn’t have to beg for help in addressing climate change, the president of the African Development Bank said Tuesday, adding that polluting global powers “have to pay.”

Akinwumi Adesina said during an interview on the sidelines of the African Union summit that the financing promised to African countries to cope with the consequences of climate change “needs to be put on the table.”

Africa’s more than 1.2 billion people stand to suffer the most from global warming while contributing to it the least. The region is also the least equipped to deal with its effects, according to experts. Parts of Africa are warming at a faster pace than elsewhere, and climate experts have said warming Indian Ocean waters have contributed to more powerful cyclones and the worst locust outbreak in decades in East Africa.

African heads of state are increasingly blunt about the dangers ahead and the need for the rest of the world, including top polluters such as China and the US, to step up and contribute to Africa’s efforts to adapt. “There has to be climate justice,” Adesina said.

The African Development Bank is increasing its own climate financing to 40 percent of its total investments, he said, with such financing having doubled from $12.5 billion to $25 billion. Half of that money is for climate adaptation.

“Africa shouldn’t be in a situation wherein it is begging,” Adesina said. “We are not going to deal with climate change by talking about it.”

Africa has 15 percent of the world’s population, yet is likely to “shoulder nearly 50 percent of the estimated global climate change adaptation costs,” the bank said, noting the continent has seven of the 10 countries considered most vulnerable to climate change: Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

And yet “to date, energy-related CO2 emissions in Africa represented around 2 percent of cumulative global emissions,” the International Energy Agency said last year.

“Major emitting countries and industrial sectors have a particular responsibility” to act, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the AU summit. “If they don’t deliver, all our efforts will be in vain.”

Dow drops 1,000 points as pandemic fears heighten

Updated 3 min 20 sec ago

Dow drops 1,000 points as pandemic fears heighten

  • The benchmark S&P 500 fell about 12 percent

BENGALURU: The Dow Jones Industrials slumped more than 1,000 points in intraday trading for the third time this week on Friday, as the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak raised fears of global recession.

Over the week, virus fears have wiped nearly $3 trillion off the combined market value of S&P 500 companies, putting the three main indexes on track for their worst week since the 2008 global financial crisis.

As the world prepares for a potential pandemic, investors rushed to safe assets, deepening an inversion of the US Treasury yield curve, a classic recession signal.

The benchmark S&P 500 fell about 12 percent from its record closing high hit last week, confirming its fastest correction in history on Thursday.

In morning trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1,058.08 points, or 4.11 percent, while the S&P 500 was down 118.91 points, or 3.99 percent.

All the 11 S&P sectors shed at least 2 percent and the defensive utilities, consumer staples and real estate sectors dropped more than 3 percent. The three sectors have outperformed the benchmark index this month.

“This selling is a bit extreme for something that we don’t know enough about,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

“What I do know is that the coronavirus is not going to lead us into a financial crisis that is long lasting. It could put us in a technical recession, but the real concern is does that recession cause the US consumer to pare back on spending?“

While the magnitude of the economic damage from the containment measures, which have crippled supply chains and hit business investment, remained unclear, analysts have sharply downgraded their outlook for growth and corporate earnings.

Adding to worries, the Commerce Department’s data on Friday showed US consumer spending rose less than expected in January, a loss of momentum that could be exacerbated by the virus outbreak.

Traders are now pricing in an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve as soon as next month, but many have expressed doubts about how this would mitigate the impact of the outbreak.

Among individual stocks, Mylan NV dropped 6 percent after the drugmaker cautioned a financial hit from the coronavirus outbreak and warned of drug shortages in case of continued spread of the virus.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 9.24-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 4.63-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and 108 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 11 new highs and 386 new lows.