Building Inclusive Green Economies in Africa

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Cairo, Egypt, March 2015 - The new Green Economy Africa Synthesis Report - launched at the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) in March 2015 – highlights the key findings of agriculture, energy, water, fisheries, buildings, manufacturing, transport and tourism assessments carried out in eight African countries. (Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa).

This synthesis is a compilation of numerous Green Economy Scoping Studies, Assessments and Sectoral studies which were commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the request of respective governments. The reports examine the opportunities for, and challenges to, a green economy transition.

Speaking at AMCEN, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “This report makes clear that green investments can not only drive economic growth faster than business as usual investments, but represent a valuable opportunity for Africa to conserve the natural wealth on which economies, lives, and livelihoods depend.”

Enormous sustainable, renewable, and untapped resources exist on this continent. Africa receives 325 days per year of sunlight and is using less than 7 per cent of its hydroelectric potential, and less than 2 per cent of its geothermal capacity.”

“Many African countries are beginning to tap into this potential.  Green investments in renewable energy development in Burkina Faso are expected to yield an increase in electricity generation from renewables 180 per cent greater than business as usual investments.” 

“And in South Africa, a new Green Economy Accord is set to create 300,000 green jobs by 2020. The list of successful examples of green investments in Africa is far greater than what is generally imagined. The potential is enormous.”

”But what is required to scale-up these investments is the right mix of policy, incentives, capacity development, and informational tools. Here at AMCEN, policy-makers and experts have convened to identify the best means of achieving this mix and bringing the enormous potential of these green investments to scale,” he concluded. 

While each country is forging its own pathway, the report presents an array of examples that show how countries at the forefront of this transition recognize the potential of shifting to a green, low carbon and inclusive economy. Building on a strong endowment of natural resources, skills and cultures, Africa is well-poised to benefit from a global shift to more sustainable models of economic growth.