AfDB promotes green and sustainable growth in Africa at UN Climate Talks in Warsaw

20/11/2013
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The African Development Bank’s green growth side event at the 19th Conference of Parties (COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland, provided a strong case for the collective objective of ensuring the transition to green growth and sustainable development in Africa.

The side event titled “Transitioning towards Green Growth in Africa: The Role of the African Development Bank and other regional institutions” held on Monday, November 18, promoted the exchange of experiences and best practices with a view to replicating these in the future.

“By 2030, Mozambique would have transitioned to a green economy,” said Ana Paulo Chichava, Vice-Minister for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs in Mozambique. The Vice-Minister emphasized the need to raise awareness, for analysis of policy options, institutional capacity-building, a green private sector, green financial flows, integration into the education system, and monitoring and evaluation.

“A new paradigm is needed,” Anthony Nyong, AfDB Manager for environmental safeguards and compliance, said in his opening remarks. “This is to ensure that countries, particularly those in Africa, maximize the benefits that can be generated from their natural resources in order to enhance livelihoods, eradicate poverty, and minimize vulnerabilities; whilst at the same time creating new opportunities for sustainable growth and development,” he added.

The role of Human Capital Development was also highlighted as key for Africa to transition to green growth. Feng Zhao, the AfDB Manager for Human Development, stressed the fact that the one billion people in Africa today and 2.3 billion people projected for 2050 can represent a great asset, if provided with the skills and opportunities to develop Africa’s economy. Transitioning to green growth consequently requires that Africa’s reservoir of human capital is harnessed and channeled towards the productive sectors of the economy. “A well-educated, innovative and skilled population is the foundation to enable sustainable development,” said Zhao.

The African Development Bank is committed to supporting its regional member countries in their bid to transition to green growth through its various roles as financier, knowledge broker, convener and facilitator. The AfDB has produced several knowledge products, amongst which the Rio+20 discussion paper “Facilitating Green Growth in Africa”, as well as a policy toolkit, in partnership with the World Bank, United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), for the G20 leaders in Los Cabos. The Africa Ecological Footprint Report is also a joint AfDB-World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) output.

The Bank’s efforts, achievements and challenges in the planning and implementation of natural resources management, in building climate resilience and creating sustainable infrastructure in Africa was also clearly illustrated during the event. Experts from the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), WWF, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) also shared their experiences.