Friday, March 1, 2013

Green growth for sustainable development in Africa

Source: DACnews February 2013

Green growth represents a necessity and an opportunity for advancing Africa’s development in a manner that is not only sustainable, but also more equitable than today’s approaches. Green growth can support inclusive economic growth that improves the environment as well as the health and wealth of the population. Based on country priorities and experiences, policymakers have identified key actions to promote green growth:
  • Advance a long-term vision for national development: In Africa, green growth needs to meet priority short-term needs, including unemployment – particularly among the young – and poverty and inequality across class and gender. In the long-term, green growth should help to meet Africa’s infrastructure deficit, connect it to markets worldwide and regionally, and support the greening of growing cities.
  • Secure high-level political will and stakeholder engagement: High-level political buy-in is essential for promoting green growth and enabling sustainable development, but this should be anchored in increased citizen engagement – building ownership, trust and confidence across stakeholder groups – and with the involvement of the private sector.
  • Review development options in the light of environmental and socio-economic changes: Green growth policies need to build on environmental indicators and information that reflects the environmental costs of economic growth and the value of natural resources. Trends and policy options should be carefully assessed to inform policy choices. For example, South Africa uses environmental indicators as criteria for infrastructure investments; Mauritius has introduced a tax on plastic and fuel products; Rwanda has banned plastic bags.
  • Broaden international financing avenues while supporting local financing mechanisms: External and domestic financing are both needed to support green growth. While ODA flows for environmental protection have increased, climate change ODA to date has predominantly supported mitigation, whereas there is a chronic need in African countries for adaption. This suggests a need to better target green ODA to the needs of countries. To help finance green growth, Rwanda, Mauritius and South Africa have established innovative green funds financed from tax revenue and drawing on private-sector resources.
  • Focus on programmatic rather than project-based solutions: This implies an emphasis on enhanced cross-sector collaboration, with a systemic approach to integrating environmental concerns into sector and structural policies (e.g. skills development and training programmes).
These conclusions emerged from a joint OECD/AFDB Workshop – “Green Growth in Africa: Concepts, Tools and Strategies for Building Greener Economies and a Sustainable Future” – held in Lusaka, Zambia 15-18 January. Organised in partnership with the Government of Zambia and the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the workshop brought together numerous African policymakers to examine the green growth opportunities and challenges for the continent.

Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD-DAC) - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development