In a recent development, Professor Kofi Amegah, an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Cape Coast, has emphasized the critical need for a specialized funding stream to address the escalating issue of air pollution in African countries.
Prof. Amegah’s plea comes in response to a report by the Clean Air Fund, revealing a shocking disparity in funding allocation, with a mere $7 out of every $1,000 from development funders directed towards combating outdoor air pollution.
The report brings to light the concerning lack of data, hindering preventive measures and policy decisions. Prof. Amegah proposes the creation of dedicated funding, enabling African researchers to compete through a call for proposals.
He underscores the challenges faced by African researchers, citing stiff competition from developed nations with superior research environments and resources.
Highlighting the urgency of the matter, Prof. Amegah, who leads the Breath Accra project, emphasizes the need for collaboration between researchers in the global north and their counterparts in the global south.
Despite efforts by organizations like the Clean Air Fund, he argues that more substantial funding is required to combat the significant impact of air pollution in Africa.
The Clean Air Fund’s report sheds light on Africa’s struggle with air pollution, particularly in its rapidly growing urban centers.
With Africa projected to double its population by mid-century, the report exposes the lack of international funding to address air pollution, with only five percent of total aid directed towards this crucial issue.
The disparity becomes even more glaring when comparing aid directed at prolonging fossil fuel use versus combating air pollution.
Between 2015 and 2021, donor governments provided a staggering 36 times more aid for fossil fuels, despite Africa facing temperature increases faster than the global average.
The report calls on international and multilateral development banks to provide increased technical support to help African countries access green funds.
In a stark reminder of the human cost, the World Health Organization reports that 28,000 Ghanaians die prematurely each year due to air pollution, making it the second-highest health risk factor after malnutrition.