16 April 2019

Africa: Idai Prompts Efforts to Build Climate-Proof African Economies

Maputo — THE deadly Cyclone Idai that left hundreds of deaths in its trail in some Southern African countries is a stark reminder of building economies resilient to climate change in the continent.

Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are reeling from Idai, rated among the worst climate disasters to strike the Southern Hemisphere.

More than 1 000 people are dead and thousands missing.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been rendered homeless and displaced. Thousands of classrooms were destroyed, and children thrown out of school.

Massive food shortages are projected.

"This natural disaster once more shows the importance of building climate-resilient economies in the African continent," said African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Akinwumi Adesina.

The financial institution is leading reconstruction efforts in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in the aftermath of the deadly cyclone.

AfDB noted in the wake of natural disasters like cyclones, initial efforts concentrate on humanitarian relief and the immediate needs of loss of life and property.

However, in addition to immediate relief support, reconstruction and economic recovery are paramount.

"Indeed, while aid is trickling in, a big push is needed to help rebuild the three countries," Adesina said.

AfDB is leading fundraising efforts from private sector sources for the affected countries.

Bank experts are currently assessing key reconstruction priorities and working to mobilise resources from the international community, global philanthropic organisations and the general public.

To kick-start proceedings, a high-level AfDB delegation, headed by Vice President for Corporate Services and Human Resources, Mateus Magala, visited Mozambique in the first week of April to assess firsthand the massive devastation to crops, villages, infrastructure, businesses and social amenities.

Mozambique President, Filipe Nyusi, assured the delegation the bank's assistance would be key to help victims restart their lives.

Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, the Deputy Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Mozambique, described the rebuilding stage as critical.

"We can support emergency efforts but we count on organisations like the AfDB to lead reconstruction efforts. We are all partners helping the government," Stampa concluded.

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