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Call for renewed efforts to support Green Growth in Africa


Given the urgency and seriousness of climate change, there is need to advance efforts to mobilize financing and mitigate the impact of climate change on the African continent, distinguished panelists said on Tuesday, May 20 in Kigali at the ongoing Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank.

And although Africa accounts for less than 4% of global greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions, it is the continent that suffers the most from the effects of climate change given its high climate sensitivity and relatively low adaptive capacity. The session held under theme “Green Growth: the Future for Africa” focused on the need to build a more comprehensive and robust development model, which promotes growing the African economy, while sustainably managing the continent’s natural assets and fostering social capital.

During the interactive session, Donald Kaberuka, the President of the African Development Bank, reiterated the strong commitment of the Bank to supporting African countries' gradual transition to green growth, as indicated in its Strategy for 2013-2022, within the context of its twin objectives of inclusive growth and the transition to green growth.  

Africa’s natural resources, Kaberuka argued, must be used in a sustainable way to support economic growth. “I do believe green growth will provide jobs for the future provided we do it right,” he said, allaying fears that green growth initiatives might undermine economic growth.

Specifically, the AfDB is already providing support to countries such as Sierra Leone to mainstream green growth in its Poverty Reduction Strategy. Similar efforts are taking place in Mozambique, Kenya, Rwanda and Cape Verde.

The panel of experts noted that African countries should adopt appropriate tools and instruments to effectively integrate green growth concepts and principles into existing development strategies and sectoral plans. “For Rwanda, we were able to develop our National Strategy for Climate Change and Low Carbon Development in 2011. The strategy is guiding the national policy planning in an integrated fashion; mainstreaming climate change into all sectors of the economy,” said Stanislas Kamanzi, the Rwandan Minister of Natural Resources. He added that the strategy is positioning Rwanda to access international funding to achieve climate resilience and low carbon development. 

Aly Abou-Sabaa, AfDB Vice-President, Sector Operations, in charge of Governance, Agriculture and Human Development, emphasized the importance of upstream diagnostics to ensure that countries can take the right decisions. Desta Mebratu, UNEP's Deputy Regional Director for Africa, highlighted that “African countries have the greatest opportunity in terms of leapfrogging to a greener economy than any other region in the world”, further adding that most of the technological innovations required for the Green Economy transition is already in place.

For his part, South Africa’s former Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, who is currently a member of the high level advisory group on Climate Change Finance by the United Nations, called for a major paradigm and generational shift, emphasizing the need for collective action and financing to support the transition to a green economy on the continent. He pointed out that policies, such as redirecting subsidies and fostering strong private sector investment, are crucial to make the transition to a green economy a reality.  

The AfDB has already committed US $10 billion to climate-resilient and low-carbon development between 2011 and 2015. The Bank is helping to attract private and institutional investors, lower investment risk and facilitate the transition towards more sustainable development pathways.

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