Africa should brace for climate refugees in the coming years-majority of who will be women, if governments and private sector don’t prioritize investment in sound climate change mitigation models, experts have warned.
During a recent fire side chat on climate change organized by AfriCatalyst in Dakar Senegal, participants discussed how climate change is reshaping women’s lives and how they can be further empowered to adapt to the current realities.
According to data from UN Environment, about 80% of people displaced by climate change are women, which has exacerbated their vulnerabilities.
Because when women and girls are displaced they are at greater risk of violence, including sexual violence.
“The numbers continue multiplying- if we are not careful we shall soon have climate refugees that’s why we need to increase partnerships right from the policy level to the grassroots level to better address the issues of climate change” said Assana Alio, the Global Green Growth Institute Country Representative in Senegal.
She said it is fundamental for women and girls to understand how climate change intersects with their lives and how best to address it.
“Climate change is complex; it involves many dimensions from science, politics to economics, global and national budgets”
Experts pointed out the urgent need for a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral collaboration in shaping the continental climate change agenda.
At the center of the conversation was the necessity to finance women-focused and women-led businesses that offer climate change solutions.
“Reinforcing entrepreneurship through capacity building, offering sustainable financing solutions will help women scale their businesses” noted Alio.
Participants also resonated the need for governments and non-governmental institutions to provide women with sustainable financing solutions and resources to expedite climate change related projects.
Yacine Ndiaye , the Project Manager at Africatalyst observed that investments in climate change related projects has been impeded by inadequate research.
“We have a gap in climate financing brought about by lack of data – which is a requirement for attracting investments by different institutions.”