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Facilitating Green Growth in Africa: Perspectives from the African Development Bank
14 Jun 2012 - 14 Jun 2012
1:15 PM - 2:45 PM

Rio Conventions Pavilion

What is Green Growth?
The international development community has generally converged on a definition that consists of job creation or economic growth that is either compatible with or driven by reduced emissions, improved efficiencies in the use of natural resources and protection of ecosystems.

Green growth is premised on the notion that economic growth can be achieved through a range of economic activities, and that by choosing certain economic activities, economic growth can be decoupled from environmental harms. In some cases, environmentally superior choices may also enhance economic productivity (e.g. through efficiency gains) or human welfare (e.g. through goods and services provided by natural environments).

Why Green Growth in Africa?
Because of its current low emission and its need for dramatically increased energy access, Africa can afford and will need to emit greater quantities of greenhouse gases as the region’s economies grow in the short term. However, if it fails to decouple its growth from greenhouse gas emissions and environmental harm in the medium term, it will end up suffering the most from the negative consequences posed by climate change. Decoupling of economic growth and environmental harm requires the creation of different forms of infrastructure and the promotion of different economic sectors, favoring the wrong infrastructure or sectors now creates the risk that it will be prohibitively expensive to replace them later on. Africa cannot afford this risk. At the same time, development activities need to plan for climatic changes that are no longer avoidable.

Many of Africa’s economies are heavily dependent on natural resource exploitation. Much of Africa’s population also relies directly on natural systems for their immediate health and livelihoods. This makes African economies and populations vulnerable to threats to the sustained use of these natural assets. Overexploitation of natural resources and destruction of natural systems thus poses a particularly acute threat to economic growth and human welfare in Africa.

Therefore a path of economic growth that is either compatible with or even driven by environmentally beneficial choices is important for Africa. Green growth provides such a pathway and is compatible with Africa’s priorities. Green growth does not propose exogenous limits to growth. Lest the green growth enterprise be seen as an un-pragmatic perspective on irreconcilable tradeoffs between growth and environment.

Key Questions
1. What does green growth mean for Africa? Is transformation crucial for Africa or is it a concept imposed from international community?
2. Why does Africa need to transition towards green growth? Can Africa afford to follow the same growth pathway of industrialized country? What are the consequences of inaction for Africa today?
3. Where will the financing for green growth in Africa come from? How can we address the institutional, technical and technological obstacles that hamper the delivery of finance for green growth in Africa?
4. What are the opportunities and challenges? What is needed to make green growth attractive to decision makers in Africa? How can green growth be promoted in Africa?

Mr. Aly Abou-Sabaa, Chair of the Climate Change Coordination Committee, AfDB
Ms. Kate Raworth, Senior Researcher, Oxfam UK
Mr. Frank Sperling, Chief Climate Change Specialist, Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Change, AfDB
Mr. Anthony Okon Nyong, Manager, Safeguards & Compliance Division, AfDB
Dr. Laurent Some, Africa Policy and Partnership Director, WWF
Mr. Junya Nakano, Senior Negotiator for Climate Change, Climate Change Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

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