Regional stakeholder workshop held on low emission development and green growth in Africa

15/04/2014
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From March 31 to April 3, African Development Bank (AfDB) staff participated in a regional forum in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on opportunities for green growth in Africa. They joined representatives from governments, development organizations, civil society and academic institutions to exchange knowledge and experiences, and foster more coordinated dialogue around environmentally-sound economic development.

On this occasion, AfDB Resident Representative Valentin Zongo highlighted in his opening remarks that Africa is essentially low carbon. The region has the right to develop, he added, which requires energy. The challenge is for the continent to do so while managing changes in climate, demographics and demand for its natural resources. The goal, Zongo concluded, must be to identify opportunities that realize these energy needs, while promoting efficiency gains and ensuring sustainability.

The first day was devoted to low emissions development strategies (LEDS) in Africa. The LEDS Global Partnership, which organized the day’s activities, is an international network of practitioners and experts who seek to identify efficient pathways to development that also limit greenhouse gas emissions. Given that regional multi-stakeholder networks have been established in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, the group wanted to identify the scope of an Africa focused LEDS partnership.

A two-day Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP) Practitioners Workshop followed the Africa LEDS Partnership meeting. The GGKP workshop was organized by the World Bank, hosted under the auspices of the Prime Minister of the DRC, Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon, and opened by the DRC’s Environment Minister, Bavon N’Sa Mputu Elima. The opening plenary session explored the rationale for green growth in Africa, where Marianne Fay, Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Network, and AfDB’s Frank Sperling, Chief Climate Change Specialist, discussed the relevance of green growth for improving and sustaining human welfare in Africa. Their presentations considered key global and regional environmental and socioeconomic trends. For his part, Moustapha Kamal of the International Labour Organization discussed job opportunities that result from greening development processes.

That overarching session was followed by focused discussions on energy, the role of renewables, sustainable transport and infrastructure, and managing the environmental impacts of growth. On the second day, participants discussed management of the Congo Basin, country approaches and experiences, the application of climate risk management tools, governance and promoting behavioural change to enable economic transformation.

The forum illustrated the increasing momentum and interest within Africa for building greener economies. They showcased how stronger upstream diagnostics and strategic partnership-building can facilitate sustainable development solutions for an economic region on the move.