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Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
Nigeria, continental economic giant, and other countries in Africa offer enormous opportunities if they embark on green growth – which are, investing in climate-smart crops to build more resilient food systems, climate-resilient infrastructure and energy transition.
According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) in an optimism note of enormous opportunities inherent in green growth in Africa’s recovery pathway from its first recession in 25 years, energy, agriculture and infrastructure are key areas of investment potential for a post-Covid-19 recovery in Africa.
“With abundant solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy resources, Africa’s energy transition alone presents a $100 billion per year investment opportunity,” Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president said at the EU-Africa Green Investment Forum in Portugal.
Agriculture potentially offers massive investments in climate-smart crops to build more resilient food systems. And climate-resilient infrastructure offers investment potential of between $130 billion and $170 billion, Adesina said further.
He reminded global audiences of the continent’s vast opportunities for green growth. “Africa is a huge market offering incredible opportunities. The recovery pathway offers enormous opportunities. Recovery must be green and build climate resilience. Recovery must boost green investments.”
A greener Nigeria and Africa must also focus on the circular economy, in which waste can be recycled and turned into wealth. For example, a new plastic recycling plant in Ghana has already created 2,300 green jobs, while converting food waste into organic fertilisers will increase the circularity of the food systems, Adesina said.
Nigeria, Africa’s economic giant with GDP of more than $450 billion, struggling to recover from its second recession in five years, would only do well if it harnesses its potentials in green economy – gas and renewable energy, climate-resilient crops and climate-resilient infrastructure.
Recently, the country set up InfraCorp, a N1 trillion infrastructure development company that would drive the development of critical infrastructure which is in huge deficit in the country.
The hybrid EU-Africa Green Investment forum was convened by Portugal and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to mobilize private and public capital towards the green transition in Africa. The high-level event brought together leading government and business figures, international and development financial institutions, civil society and academia.
Speakers emphasized the need to build back greener collectively. Several congratulated the United States, after President Joe Biden on Thursday committed to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the year 2030.
“We need to bring everyone on board,” African Union Commissioner Josefa Sako said. She called for a just transition that recognized the historical responsibility of the developed world for climate change. She warned that measures taken should not push vulnerable populations into greater poverty.
European Investment Bank president Werner Hoyer said the partnerships forged in addressing the Covid-19 crisis must now be applied to climate change. “Africa may be the continent that is most vulnerable to the immediate effects of climate change but it is responsible for some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per head. This is also the continent where mistakes made elsewhere can be avoided. Africa can invest in innovative technologies and make the right choices for a sustainable and inclusive future.”
António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, said, the gathering was an opportunity to strengthen partnerships and boost investment in Africa for the benefit of all. “I see agendas converging around financing a green transition and greater resilience. African countries are rapidly scaling up renewables, particularly solar and wind power,” Guterres said.