African Development Report (ADR) 2012 entitled “Towards Green Growth in Africa” discusses the necessity and feasibility of transitioning to green growth in order to enable sustainable development pathways on the African continent. The Report points out why Green Growth represents an important development paradigm for managing the challenges of the 21st century such as environmental degradation, climate change, population growth, and the transformation of markets. While Green Growth requires a cross-sectoral approach, it highlights the scope for “greening” agriculture, forestry and other natural resources, clean energy and sustainable transportation. The Report shows that these solutions not only result in environmental benefits, but also contribute to the economic development of Africa and meet social needs.
- Climate change poses a serious threat to Africa’s long-term economic growth. Although Africa accounts for less than 4 percent of global greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions, it is most likely suffer the most from the effects of climate change given its high climate sensitivity and relatively low adaptive capacity. Yet the 21st century presents further development challenges for Africa. These include rapid population growth and associated demographic changes, including rapid urbanization and increase of the demand for food and corresponding natural resources in a time they are in decline.
- Pursuing a green growth agenda will entail African countries making “smart” investments, focusing on actions that are needed now to avoid greater costs in the future. These include investing in sustainable infrastructure, energy and urban settlements; better management of natural resources, including land, water, forests and minerals; building economic, social and physical resilience, including resilience to natural disasters and climate change; and enhancing food security.