AFRICA'S TRANSITION TO A GREEN ECONOMY
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) representing global business defines green economy as “an economy in which economic growth and environmental responsibility work together in a mutually reinforcing fashion while supporting progress on social development”. This means that different sectors have to manage a transition into Green economy.
With the existing mines in African countries such as South Africa relying 90% on coal, Botswana, Zimbabwe, it shows that there is still heavy dependency on fossil fuels as a source of energy. In recent years, it has been discovered that Botswana has over 200 billion tons of coal reserves and the development of the coal industry has become a major priority .Mozambique is also expected to experience a sharp increase in coal production. It is estimated that its production could exceed 100 million tons in the period between 2015 and 2020. https://www.miningafrica.net/natural-resources-africa/coal-mining-in-africa/ .In East Africa, there has been recent developments in oil sector. Uganda has discovered oil reserves in Hoima District.
Is there hope?
African countries such as Kenya have decided to invest heavily in renewable energy. Kenya has developed The Garissa Solar Plant which is the largest grid connected solar power plant in East & Central Africa. This is the first time that Kenya has developed a major solar power plant to harness its abundant solar energy resource to diversify the power generation mix and reduce energy costs. Currently this project is contributing about 2% of the national energy mix and has significantly led to a reduction of energy costs in the country thereby promoting the development of clean, reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity.( http://www.rerec.co.ke/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53&Itemid=234#:~:text=The%20Garissa%20Solar%20Plant%20is,mix%20and%20reduce%20energy%20costs.)
Egypt has created of one the World’s largest solar farms, Benban Solar Park that will be able to power more than one million homes. There is more clean energy potential in Africa that is to be fully utilized.
Investments into various green sectors are scaling up resulting into less energy or natural resources being used to set up buildings. A good example is the ‘’floating school’’ in Makoko, Lagos Nigeria which uses 256 plastic dreams to keep it floating on water and using solar panels as a source of energy.
There have been developments in the transportation sector to make it more sustainable. In order to reduce pollution in cities by automobiles, a Bus Rapid Transportation (BRP) has been set up in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with the aim of spreading to the whole of East Africa. This has reduced a two hour trip to 45 minutes and it is able to carry 200,000 passengers per day. This encourages people to use the BRP system because of its efficiency in time management.
So what’s the challenge?
Transition to a Green energy economy requires enormous financial resources which cannot be meant by most African Countries without drowning deeper into debt. With the efforts to reduce foreign debt, this means that the countries will have to rely on their finances to fully set up green structures, something that may take a longer time.
A green economy has to be fair and socially inclusive. This means that the green structures developed have to be financially friendly in order to include all different income earners if they are to adapt to them. Failure of this will lead the masses to rely on environmentally harming energy sources such as wood fuel which results into large scale deforestation.
There is a long way ahead for Africa to transition into the Green economy. But this does not mean it’s impossible to achieve it. Policies need to be set up and strengthened in a way that will see the evolution of green structures thus aiming at protecting the environment and the health of the people and the animals.
Davis Reuben Sekamwa, @davisreuben3
Co-Founder 1millionActivist Stories, @1millionActivi1