It is no secret that Africa is facing a climate conundrum. At the core of this trilemma is the question of how the continent can balance the energy access required for development with climate mitigation and deal with the inevitable impacts. The prevailing sentiment is that getting Africa to conform and comply with new global standards is unfair and prejudicial. Yet at the same time, Africa is disproportionately affected by climate change because it doesn’t have the social and economic buffers to mitigate its effects. Indeed, Africa’s challenge is unique. Collectively, the continent contributes the least emissions, but suffers a disproportionate weight of the consequences. According to studies, climate change could wipe out 15% of Africa’s gross domestic product by 2030. This means an additional 100 million people in extreme poverty by the end of the decade. In addition to food insecurity, population displacement and water scarcity, more than half of African countries are likely to experience conflicts related to the climate crisis.  

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RONAK GOPALDAS is a director at Signal Risk, an exclusively African risk advisory firm. He was previously the head of country risk at Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) for a number of years, where he managed a team who provided the firm with in-depth analysis of economic, political, security and operational dynamics across sub-Saharan Africa. He holds a BCom degree in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) and a BCom (Hons) from the University of Cape Town (UCT). He also has an MSc in finance (economic policy) through the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.[