‘Green growth’ can help African countries address socio-economic inequalities: Report

Green growth can address inequity through the creation of decent jobs, better provision of basic services, improvement of air quality and enhancement of climate resilience

By Madhumita Paul
Published: Tuesday 17 May 2022
The greatest challenges the focus countries in the report faced were related to access to sustainable services, such as energy and sanitation. Here, Maasai women carry water to their village in Kenya. Photo: iStock

African countries need ‘Green Growth’ to address education and health-related inequalities that hinder socio-economic development on the continent and are likely to exacerbate the negative impacts of climate change, according to a recently released report.

Green growth has the potential to address these inequalities through the creation of decent jobs, better provision of basic services, improvement of air quality and enhancement of climate resilience, the report added.

Climate action and inclusive green growth were particularly important at the current moment, as economies around the world had been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report.

Africa Green Growth Readiness Assessment was launched May 11, 2022, during a side-event at the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, underway in Abidjan from May 9-20.

The report defined ‘green growth’ as a strategy to sustain the economy through building resilience and managing resources efficiently.

The document was co-authored by the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa’s premier multilateral development finance institution and the Global Green Growth Institute, a multilateral intergovernmental organisation.

The AfDB said green growth can have the greatest impact on Africa’s most pressing challenges within focal areas — promoting sustainable infrastructure, sustainable management of natural assets and building resilience of livelihoods.

African countries can achieve sustainable growth and development if they expand access to digital and physical infrastructure such as the internet and quality roads. This will require greater support and investment, the report said.

The report also assessed the current state of and trends in green growth in Africa, as well as green growth readiness levels of African countries. Seven countries were selected to represent the five regions of the continent:

  • Morocco and Tunisia for North Africa
  • Kenya and Rwanda for east Africa
  • Senegal for west Africa
  • Gabon for central Africa
  • Mozambique for southern Africa

North African countries have made the most progress towards achieving the United Nations-mandated sustainable development goals (SDG), while countries in Central Africa require the greatest support, according to the report.

With the exception of Tunisia and Morocco, the greatest challenges the focus countries faced were related to access to sustainable services, such as energy and sanitation.

The assessment found evidence that African leaders were actively championing the SDGs and simultaneously implementing the nationally determined contributions (NDC), a component of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

All focus countries had developed national climate change or green growth strategies and in some cases complementary action plans. The governments of Rwanda, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal and Mozambique had adopted green growth and climate-resilient economic strategies.

The report found that Kenya’s green growth leadership and inclusive platforms exemplified an effective institutional arrangement for green growth coordination. Rwanda, it said, had demonstrated that green growth financing could be boosted through an innovative national climate finance mechanism.

In Tunisia, an innovative financing mechanism produced good results in scaling-up the solar water heater sector, through a programme titled PROSOL. Mozambique provided a good example of efforts made by the government to combat deforestation, which is critical for ensuring green growth in the country.

Many African countries like Gabon had also been translating strategies into policies and action plans in alignment with their national development plans. Gabon has a Green Gabon Plan as part of its Emerging Gabon Strategic Plan.

The report urged greater international support for strengthening monitoring, reporting, and verification systems for climate action in African countries. This would allow the tracking of environmental and climate action data, facilitate long-term planning and attract climate finance for the implementation of projects.

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