Africa’s regional competitiveness crisis is the issue, not its underlying cause, the U.N. environment agency said Tuesday.
Africa is suffering from a region-wide lack of investment, high unemployment and weak infrastructure, it said in its first report since the U-N launched a U.S.-led plan to address the region’s worsening vulnerability.
“While the overall economy is improving, the situation for African nations remains challenging,” said the report from the U.-N Environment Program, which is based in Geneva.
The report was the first in the organization’s 16-year-old environmental protection program.
The first time it focused on Africa, the program has already helped drive major changes in governance, economic growth and climate change.
“We’re seeing the impacts of climate change on African countries and regions,” said Catherine Moukhtar, U. N. environment program coordinator.
“The current economic situation is challenging, and climate impacts are driving much of the region-specific challenge.”
The report also noted that Africa’s regionally integrated development plan, which was introduced in 2020, has led to many of the country’s problems.
Africa’s economic growth has been slow to pick up since it was first announced.
The United Nations Development Program estimates that only 13 percent of the world’s population can afford to live on $1.25 a day, and most Africans can’t even afford to pay the minimum wage of $1 per day.
The World Bank estimates that more than 50 percent of African countries lack basic infrastructure and lack enough education and health care.
The continent is facing its first “sustainable” drought since 2006, with some parts of the continent’s rice crops being so dry they can’t produce enough food.
And it’s facing a severe shortage of clean water.
The U. Nations has urged countries to “invest more in water and sanitation, especially in the context of climate risk,” and “to address water scarcity and sanitation as a priority.”