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Supporting adaptation in African agriculture – A policy shift since the EU Green Deal?

27-06-2022

Hanne Knaepen, ECDPM briefing note, June 2022

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Communities in sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing the most severe droughts in decades, impacting livestock and crop production. In 2019, the EU presented plans to increase adaptation finance in Africa under the EU Green Deal. This paper questions whether the Green Deal and Global Europe, the EU’s instrument for neighbourhood, development and international cooperation, have led to increased political support for climate change adaptation for agriculture to the benefit of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Or is the EU repackaging what already existed?

Answering this complex question means looking at potential shifts in four areas related to EU development, cooperation and finance: (1) narrative as expressed in recent policies and strategies towards Africa and the new programming documents; (2) financing modalities and instruments; (3) partnerships with EU members states, the private sector and development finance institutes; and, (4) implementation of projects in the period 2021-2022.

One key finding is that the wider EU strategies towards Africa reveal a strong interest in large-scale mitigation and clean energy investments, whereas the EU’s programming documents for Africa focus on adaptation to the benefit of smallholder farmers. However, new financing instruments and partnership modalities with a strong focus on involving the private sector may eventually throw a spanner in the works. This paper ends with ten recommendations on how to increase the much-needed support for adaptation in Africa’s agricultural sector and facilitate a change of direction from finance, policy and practical perspective, ahead of the mid-term review of EU projects in 2024.


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Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer via Flickr.

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Climate action and green transitionBriefing Notes (series)AgricultureClimate adaptationClimate changeAfrica