The UNECA said in a statement that with the global economy still grappling with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on food and energy prices, achieving food security and energy transition is of paramount importance for African countries, particularly the North and West African regions.
According to the UNECA, the combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict are increasing borrowing costs and debt service in Africa, which is further exacerbated by the disproportionate impact of climate change which costs African countries 2 to 9 percent of state budgets.
It said amid the cascading crises, the food and energy security in North and West Africa experienced major setbacks. Figures from the UNECA show that between 2019 and 2022, almost 25 million additional people suffered from undernourishment in both regions combined.
The UNECA made the call ahead of its upcoming meeting of the joint Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) for North and West Africa, slated to be held on Nov. 1-3 in the Ghanian capital of Accra. The joint meeting is expected to bring together representatives of 22 North and West African countries, along with representatives from regional economic communities from the two regions.
This year’s edition of the ICSOE, in partnership with the government of Ghana, will be held under the theme "Investing in the Energy Transition, Food Security, and Regional Value Chains for Sustainable Development in North and West Africa," the UNECA said.
Ngone Diop, director of the UNECA office for West Africa, said achieving food security and energy transition requires concerted ambition to scale up high-impact investments as well as forging alliances with a wide range of regional, national, and global actors.
"Above all, it calls for action — to act now to deliver the SDGs promise for equitable, inclusive sustainable development for all, (and) leaving no one behind," the statement quoted Diop as saying.
Zuzana Schwidrowski, director of the UNECA office for North Africa, said the upcoming meeting is expected to propose recommendations that will facilitate just and sustainable food and energy transitions.