GCA CEO’s Opening Remarks at the Africa’s Adaptation Transformation Leaders Event (Africa Climate Summit 2023)

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Y our Excellencies, distinguished colleagues, friends, my name is Patrick Verkooijen and I am the CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation. I want to thank you for joining this powerhouse leaders’ debate on adaptation in Africa today.

I think there is one thing that all of you will agree on. What is Africa’s number one climate priority? Adaptation.

Why? Not only Africa the most vulnerable continent on the planet. But adaptation is big business. It’s about investment, about jobs, about growth.

The good thing is, two years ago we launched the largest adaptation program in the world: The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP). President Adesina, thank you for your leadership. And thank you President Macky Sall for taking this to the global stage. And President Ruto, for putting Africa center stage in global climate leadership. What a team we have.

With the African Development Bank and partners, since Glasgow, we have financed nearly $7 billion of projects in 27 countries benefitting millions of Africans. Because let us be clear: Adaptation is about people.

But there’s no room for complacency. We have a long way to go – adaptation finance should increase tenfold this decade. But I know –and I am sure you agree– that it can be done. And we will make it happen.

International adaptation finance will double by 2025, if we all move together effectively.

Why are we here today:
AAAP Adaptation Compacts.
7 leaders. 7 trailblazers. 7 investment roadmaps.

As they show, there are already billion-dollar pipelines to take forward. The Compacts will be the gravitational force for adaptation in Africa, pulling in investment for building resilience.

What do they do? Clarify the top national priorities, identify critical areas for strengthening, and step up the role of the private sector.

In Asia, 40 percent of adaptation funding is already private. In Africa, that’s just 3 percent. But Africa can be open for business in adaptation. And adaptation can be big business in Africa.

In fact, as our new report shows, foregoing adaptation investments will actually cost Africa over $6 trillion in the next decade, which the continent – in fact the world – cannot afford.

But we all – everyone – all of us in this room, and more – we have to step up. And we will, together.

Because when we make the right investments in adaptation, we all win.

I thank you.

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