Green Growth: the Future for Africa

07/06/2011
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With the pressing issue of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, building a green economy is the best development option for Africa, said panelists at a seminar of the 2011 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The seminar, held on 7 June 2011, and entitled Green Growth: an African Perspective, focused on two subjects: green growth and the Inga project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Transiting to a green economy

The inevitability of a compromise between environmental sustainability and economic progress is a misconception, said one panelist. As supported by UNEP, the "greening" of economies does not preclude the creation of wealth and jobs. Green economy can also bring about productive investments which can enable African countries to escape poverty, without eroding the continent’s natural resources.

In this regard, renewable energy can play a leading role to a greener economy. Africa is a continent rich in energy. It holds about 9 percent of oil reserves in the world, 8 percent of gas reserves, 6 percent of world total coal reserves and has a huge hydropower potential estimated at 1,000 billion kWh / year, of which only 8 percent is tapped.

However, the shortage of electricity is greatly impeding social and economic growth in Africa.

The majority of African countries suffer from a chronic lack of capacity of transmission and distribution, which causes frequent blackouts.

These shortages of electricity also hinder achievement of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).

Without access to modern services and sustainable energy, African communities in Africa will remain deprived of the opportunity to improve their standard of living.

Tackling energy poverty is therefore an important pillar of the effective transition to a green economy on the African continent.

The AfDB is doing its part, notably with two funds:

  • The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA): SEFA is designed to support SMEs clean energy and energy efficiency projects in Africa.
  • The Africa Carbon Facility (ACF): ACF is designed to support low carbon investments in Africa.

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