Political Will of African Governments to Address Climate Change

20th November 2019
Author: Brian Lucas

In the past ten to fifteen years, there has been a ‘striking rise in discussions of politics and power in development policy circles’ (Laws & Marquette, 2018, p. 1) across all sectors, including calls for ‘greater attention to political economy in tackling climate change and development’ (Naess, et al., 2015, p. 535). ‘Political will’ is the outcome of a deeply political process of contestation among political actors with diverse interests, motives, and incentives who come together in coalitions to support or oppose change. Analysis of this process of political contestation can be guided by frameworks that identify relevant political actors, clarify their interests, motives, and incentives, and understand the relationships among the various actors including how they form coalitions to support or oppose change (Developmental Leadership Program, 2018). This rapid review briefly summarises several such frameworks, some of which offer general guidance about broad groups of issues that analysts might consider while others focus down to the level of specific factors that affect political outcomes. This report also examines country case studies from Africa and a few global comparative studies that illustrate factors that have appeared to either support or hinder the building of political momentum around action on climate change. The literature generally did not offer any evidence about gender issues in connection with these factors.

Suggested Citation

Lucas, B. (2019). Political will of African governments to address climate change. K4D Helpdesk Report 701. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.


20th November 2019


Continent: Africa