The stakeholders spoke at the second webinar series of the Africa Investment Roundtable (AIR) on Sustainability En route COP26 on Monday, February 15, 2021 in Lagos.
Dr Jingdong Hua, Vice President and Treasurer, World Bank Pension Finance Group of the World Bank Group, said that COVID-19 pandemic paused daily life activities, and not climate change.
Hua said that there was an urgent importance for governments globally to save lives and improve livelihoods of citizens, while prioritising eradicating social and economic challenges.
“As we start to see the beginning of the end of COVID-19, I think we need to bring back the focus on sustainability.
“The pandemic paused so many human mobility and other daily life activities, but it never paused the impact of climate change.
“When the pandemic hit, many governments had to prioritise serving its own citizens.
“In Europe, trillions and trillions of dollars have been deployed to help with their own domestic economy and their social challenges.
“In many countries that don’t have the financial resources, this is where the multilateral human banks, the United Nations system mobilised.
“Am very proud that the World Bank last March, very quickly came out with the global package of 160 billion dollars, including 12 billion dollars, dedicated to vaccine so that even the poorest people could access vaccines.
“With that, we intend to serve about one billion people to obtain vaccines; there is no better time like now to say that multilateralism really serves a critical role in the global space at the moment,” he said.
According to Hua, notwithstanding the impressive growth of Africa’s economy, the debt per cent would increase dramatically by 2022 as the need to tap into fiscal apace to help governments address social, environmental and economic fallout from COVID-19.
“It is important to draw attention to the immediate task of saving lives, improve livelihoods of citizens.
“We need to focus on medium and long term challenge on how to restore institutional capacity, how we structure the economy so that it becomes more resilient.
“Am happy to see that of all the $160 billion World Bank offered our client countries; we have already come up with over 300 projects in over 100 countries, of which 190 projects are for the African continent and half of those projects have climate focus, which is critically important,” he said.
Also, Mr Bola Onadele, Group Chief Executive Officer, FMDQ, said that at this point, nothing could be done without the consideration of the future generations.