Publié le 17/02/2022

Olumide Abimbola

An interview with Olumide Abimbola, founder and director of the Africa Policy Research Institute (APRI).

“Climate change is fundamental for Africa the way it currently isn't for Europe.”

On the 6th AU-EU Summit Agenda, climate change is one highly anticipated topic as an unprecedented "conglomerative issue" (United Nations), but also as a key area of collaboration and cooperation.

Founder and director of the Africa Policy Research Institute (APRI) Olumide Abimbola stresses on African countries' greater vulnerability to climate change leading them to allocate sometimes up to "10% of their GDP on adaptation measures" while still not reaching the 19 to 50 billion dollars estimated for the continent to develop resilience. Yet Olumide Abimbola believes in the potential of the European and African partnership in that field. "I think there's a template from which Europe can work with African countries" he says, talking about the "8.5 billion dollars deal that was announced in Glasgow at COP 26 between South Africa and the richest countries in the world to transition from using coal to renewable resources.”.

However, accessing ressources is not the only challenge faced by governments and societies regarding green transition:

The issue is not the money itself or destransiting itself, it is what it connotes : we have to understand that transiting from one energy source to another is not only a technical issue, it's about the jobs that are attached to the energy source you're transiting from. We're talking about well-paid jobs in communities in societies where coal is extracted and processed. What happens when these jobs disappear ?

The dialogue between the European Union and the African Union about climate change and climate adaptation measures appears as an opportunity to broaden the framework and approach used to deal with regional and transnational issues in Africa:

“Why are we not changing our discussion about the whole Sahel, from a discussion where we hear about security a lot, to a discussion actually engaging in climate change or climate diplomacy issues ?”