The AfDB Committed to a Transition to Greener Economies and Growth
On Tuesday, May 28, the African Development Bank organized at its Annual Meetings in Marrakech a high-level side event discussing how African countries could grow green and transition to a green economy. With the approval of the Bank’s 2013-2022 Strategy, inclusive growth and the transition to green growth have been anchored as the two strategic objectives to guide the work of the organization over the next decade.
In addition to ensuring that growth needs to become more inclusive, green growth is about empowering African countries to reach their development objectives, while maximizing natural resource use efficiency, minimizing waste and pollution and building resilience. Building green economies consequently means ensuring that economic progress for Africa’s growing population is robust and sustainable in the face of local and global environmental change.
A panel of eminent African leaders and experts discussed how this transition to green economies can be achieved. Sierra Leone is making inclusive green growth a central focus in its development planning process. In this context, Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, Minister of Energy of Sierra Leone, emphasized the importance of African countries to define their long-term vision and take ownership of this essential agenda. Desta Mebratu, Deputy Director of UNEP’s Regional Office for Africa, added that ownership over this green growth was particularly crucial with regards to social innovation, as communities and local farmers for instance are the most creative in terms of green economy.
Mohammedi Allach, Deputy Managing Director of the Commercial and Finance Department at the Moroccan National Electricity and Drinking Water Authority (ONEE), stressed the importance of coupling the emphasis on “green” with a strong focus on the “inclusive” dimension, so that the development pathways are environmentally and socially sustainable.
As co-chairs of the Bank’s emerging work on Green Growth, Vice-President Aly Abou-Sabaa, Sector Operations (OSVP), and Hela Cheikhrouhou, Director of the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department (ONEC), highlighted the Bank’s ongoing efforts and commitment in facilitating the transition of its regional member countries towards greener economies. Vice-President Abou-Sabaa underlined in particular the essential role of sound analyses to make the right policy choices. Overall, growing green and transitioning towards greener economies should not be seen as constraint but an opportunity for the African continent. With much of the infrastructure to be put in place and its wealth of natural capital, it is about building efficient, sustainable and resilient economies on the continent in an increasingly resource constrained and crowded world.