Visions for Inclusive Green Growth in Africa

3GF Africa Plenary
13-14 May 2015 - Nairobi, Kenya
SESSION: Visions for Inclusive Green Growth in Africa
Date, time:
13 May 2015, 9.30-10.30
A key vision for most countries in sub-Saharan Africa has been to transition to middle income countries by
2030 – some countries can already be categorised as ‘middle income’ – and to generate jobs for the fastgrowing work force. To do so, countries in SSA must achieve substantial productivity gains and undergo
structural transformation. This provides an opportunity for large-scale transition where economic growth is
to continue while simultaneously building resilient and sustainable societies that reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, adapt societies to climate change, and promote a sustainable use of resources. This transition
has the potential to unlock new growth engines and spur economic growth.
A paradigm shift to green growth has the potential to leapfrog the past legacies of developed countries and
reduce impacts to air, water and soil and hereby reduce the costs for cleaning up later. This requires strong
buy-in from political decision makers and commitment and leadership at the highest level of government,
as well as understanding, willingness and investment from the private sector.
The vision for a green growth transition in many SSA countries is reflected in national green growth strategies, policies and road-maps, where major priority areas are:
Renewable energy and energy efficiency
Industrialization – how to leapfrog the developed world’s mistakes in industrialization
Sustainable urbanization
These priority areas in a green growth transition will contribute to achieving the proposed Sustainable Development Goals.
To move from vision to action will require upscaling of emerging green growth projects in SSA, as well as
quantified evidence of economic costs and benefits of different options; understanding that higher upfront
capital costs of environmentally superior choices generate long-term savings; and placing a value on the
human welfare benefit of eco-system services.
One of the most compelling aspects of green growth is that many interventions generate more jobs and are
zero-cost solutions or result in cost savings1, when viewed with an adequately long term horizon that includes costing of externalities.
If bankable proposals and designs are available sufficient capital is available for upfront investments in lowcarbon transition. Accessing this capital, however, requires the right long-term policies, including enhanced
use of incentives such as carbon pricing and regulation. As private sector financing is expected to dominate
financing for infrastructure and green growth, also in Africa, policies need to focus on establishing conditions that enable and promote public-private partnerships and regulate these as relevant.
E.g. in energy efficiency many low hanging fruits are ready to be picked and the payback time for investments is often short.