Climate Change

Sustainable use of Africa’s natural capital can boost economic growth

Africa holds 30 per cent of the world’s mineral reserves, roughly 65 per cent of its arable land and 10 per cent of its freshwater resources

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 18 April 2016 | 10:49:13 AM

Sustainable use of Africa’s natural capital can result in savings of up to $103 billion every year and boost economic growth to help the continent achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The need to sustainably harness Africa’s natural capital will be the foremost issue to be taken up for discussion at a conference on the environment this week.

Africa holds 30 per cent of the world’s mineral reserves, roughly 65 per cent of its arable land and 10 per cent of its freshwater resources. Its fisheries are estimated to be worth $24 billion and the continent boasts of the second largest tropical forests in the world.

The sixth special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) takes place in Cairo (April 16-19) under the theme “Agenda 2030 and Paris Agreement: From policy to implementation in Africa”.

Khaled Fahmy, minister of environment of Egypt and president of AMCEN, said, “Egypt is proud to host the sixth special session of the AMCEN…. The continent stands to determine its development priorities in the context of the sustainable development goals. It is crucial for us to clearly define common priorities and the means to achieve our objectives at the regional and national levels.”

According to estimates, the continent loses as much as $195 billion every year from resource plunder, illegal logging and illicit trade in wildlife, unregulated fishing, illegal mining practices, high food imports and degraded ecosystems.

At AMCEN, high-level officials discuss ways to reverse these losses and redirect the revenue into African economies to drive the continent’s transformation.

African ministers are also expected to agree on the steps needed to speed up the region’s efforts to combat climate change.

In particular, the ministers will focus on the Africa Adaptation Initiative which provides means for African countries to build resilience to the impacts of climate change, and the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, which seeks to foster renewable energy capacity on the continent by 2020.

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