An official website of the United States government

April 22, 2016, is a good day for Africa. Here’s why:
April 21, 2016

Namaqualand in South Africa (© AP Images)
A view of South Africa’s beautiful Namaqualand countryside in bloom. (© AP Images)

On Earth Day 2016 more than 120 countries who are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet in New York City to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change. This is an important step in the process to formally ratify and bring into effect the December 2015 Paris Agreement as scheduled by 2020.

For Africans, who are already seeing some of the effects of climate change, the Paris Agreement offers a more hopeful future by limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius and establishing ways developing countries can create jobs through renewable energy technologies while reducing energy costs for consumers.

• Unlike the 1995 Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement takes the situation of the developing world into account by encouraging “nationally determined” action in the global efforts to advance climate change mitigation and adaptation.
• Developed countries are continuing their commitment to mobilize $100 billion per year for mitigation and adaptation actions through 2025, when the parties will design a new financing plan.
• African countries will be able to define their commitments based on their own priorities, with support through finance, technology and capacity building.
• Through the renewable energy sector, the continent has the potential to create an estimated 2.5 million temporary and permanent jobs.
• With more efficient and clean energy sources like solar power, African households could save up to $8 billion, helping to lift 16 million to 26 million people out of poverty.

Four African countries will directly benefit from investment projects approved by the Green Climate Fund board in November 2015, and the fund plans to scale up its operations further in 2016.

• Malawi is increasing its use of modernized climate information and early warning systems.
• Senegal is increasing the resilience of its ecosystems and communities through the restoration of productive bases of its salinized lands.
• Rwanda and Kenya will benefit from the KawiSafi Ventures Fund, which will provide them with off-grid solar and other clean energy technologies.