The economic and environmental benefits stemming from greening Africa's industrialisation make the environmental approach the only viable option for the continent's continued development, argues the latest Economic Report on Africa, titled: ‘Greening Africa's Industrialisation’.
“The time has never been better for African countries to follow this route to development,” says the report. It found that global commitments to addressing climate change, such as the agreement reached at the Conference of the Parties (COP21) during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December, set the stage for partnerships to transform Africa's growth prospects. “Africa's move to greener industrialisation is not just a step towards meeting global carbon emission targets, it is a precondition for sustainable and inclusive growth,” the report continues.
Dr Fatima Denton, Director of the ECA's Special Initiatives Division said that green initiatives offer the continent the opportunity to move from the periphery of the global economy to the centre. “Now we have an incredible opportunity to configure our own industrialisation. Africa has an opportunity to take advantage of its 'late-runner' status and it has huge potential to become a front-runner in this new pathway, to basically reshape its own economies and reshape it in a way that it can own.”
Although African countries' carbon emissions are low compared to other countries, going green can boost growth, Denton continued. “This is no longer an issue of choice. We have to take this pathway because it makes good economic sense,” she said.