Accelerating adaptation in Africa

Accelerating adaptation in Africa

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Date: 18th January 2021
Author: CDKN Global
Type: Feature
Country: Africa

The Africa anchoring event of the Climate Adaptation Summit (25-26 January 2021) explored ways to accelerate adaptation action on the continent. CDKN invited leading climate change adaptation scientists and practitioners to provide their perspectives, in this specially-commissioned series of articles and videos. We also synthesised their insights into a framing paper, presented below.

About the Africa anchoring event

The Africa anchoring event took place on Monday 25th January 2021. Read more about the programme here and watch the session back here.

Read CDKN's articles from the event below:

Short video

Watch clips from the interviews in our short video 'Accelerating Adaptation in Africa', directly below, and find the French version of the film here.

Video series

Watch our longer video series, Adaptation Voices, with the six interviewees from the short film. Each video is four to six minutes long, and each one highlights specific entry points where governments, private businesses, civil society and development partners can accelerate effective, inclusive adaptation action.

Framing paper

CDKN has launched a working paper, based on insights from African adaptation experts, which proposes how to accelerate adaptation action in Africa, by:

  • Investing in people’s skills and knowledge.
  • Investing in climate-resilient economies, which are well-informed by climate risk.
  • Investing in nature.


Youth and innovation: Transforming Africa's inherent adaptive capacity into action

Paseka Lesolang calls for creative funding models to help Africans’ big ideas on adaptation to take off.

What will it take for pastoral systems to adapt to climate change?

Joseph Muhwanga and Mohammed Said consider the impacts of climate change on African drylands to date and in the future – and explore the potential for communities in these areas to keep prospering.

Building an enabling environment for inclusive rural wellbeing

It is time to address capacity gaps in water users associations in Namibia and make the most of their potential to support adaptation to climate change – say Salma Hegga, Irene Kunamwene and Gina Ziervogel.

The potential of climate change adaptation for agricultural enterprises

There is tremendous economic growth potential for agricultural enterprises in East Africa, but expansion depends on their receiving appropriate support – including training on how to be climate-smart. Joseph Muhwanga and Teferi Demissie report.

Nature for recovery and resilience

Alex McNamara says that valuing the natural environment and its contribution to economies and societies is a sure way to improve climate resilience – and our ability to adapt to climate change. He notes how adaptation action is gaining traction in his native South Africa.

Wellbeing for rural people in a changing climate: Experience from Ghana's semi-arid areas

Rahina Sidiki Alare has worked with women’s groups in communities of Ghana’s semi-arid districts to spread timely and accurate climate information and support them to adopt climate-smart agriculture and develop business activities. These ways of working hold important lessons for agriculture-dependent communities elsewhere. She reports on challenges and achievements.

Citizen-led groups support inclusive adaptation to climate change

Dorothy Tembo-Nhlema, Chair of the Weather Chasers Group in Malawi, sees how the group has developed into an energetic, dynamic force for environmental protection in the country and is part of a larger civil society movement for positive change.

Accelerating climate-resilient water management – Africa’s ambitious agenda for change

What will it take for Africa to adapt sufficiently to climate change by 2050? What should stakeholders do to accelerate effective, inclusive climate change adaptation in Africa? Alex Simalabwi outlines the ambitious measures that governments and their international partners are already taking.

Building smallholder farmers’ resilience to climate change for food security in a future climate in Ghana

Philip Antwi-Agyei gives a first-hand account of how climate change is undermining food security in northern Ghana – and what to do about it.

Strengthening policy support for climate adaptation and transformation

Gina Ziervogel highlights the need for community-level capacity building and knowledge co-creation for effective water management and adaptation to climate change - based on experiences in water-scarce Cape Town, South Africa.

Applying nature-based solutions system-wide offers great potential for adaptation

Professor Sosten Chiotha shares his vision of holistic, sustainable adaptation to climate change – based on years of experience in his native Malawi.

Gender, climate change and obstacles to small enterprises' adaptation - the case of Senegal

Social, financial and technical constraints affect the adaptive capacity of women entrepreneurs in Senegal, says Mamadou Diop, Researcher, IED Afrique, Dakar.

Genre, changement climatique et les obstacles de l'adaptation des PME - cas du Senegal

Les contraintes sociales, financières et techniques affectent la capacité d’adaptation de la femme entrepreneure au Sénégal – selon Mamadou Diop, Chercheur associé à IED Afrique, Dakar-Sénégal.

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