Many experts and researchers have contributed to the new concepts used as a basis for the development of a new economy celebrated as the “Green Economy”. Green economy considers environmental and social responsibility, that in the development of activities products, services, and infrastructure, there is at best a potential to foster sustainability and provide minimum impairment on the environment. It is an economy in which all the decisions have two pillars: the
economic motivation and the forecasted environmental impact.
The interaction between the economy and the environment is complex and there is a need to have proper knowledge of how this should be carried out. From a technological point of view, these interactions involve the design of industrial processes, products, and services from a dual perspective of product
competitiveness and environmental concerns. The term industrial in this context is not exclusive to the industry sector but covers transportation, production, agriculture, consumption, and all levels of industrialization.
Addressing the sociological perspective is to address the quality of life, culture and education, roles of social institutions, and the relationships between the people and the environment. A green economy is very crucial in Africa, as the continent remains a fertile ground for innovations, growth, and creativity. Africa faces one of the biggest food insecurity crises, the low the productivity of Africa’s agricultural sector leaves the African GDP at 16.5% and if steps are not taken to improve its productivity in time the number of extremely poor people will rise from 420million to 550million by 2025, the continent loses 15million worth of food due to wastage, mismanagement, and unsustainable actions, generating over 60million worth of waste every year.
In 2017 Africa spent 64.5billion USD on importing food and may spend more in the subsequent and forthcoming years (AfDB, 2018). Nevertheless, Africa is at an advantage due to its infrastructure deficits such as its rail network that can averagely connect 30-50km per million people compared to Europe that has 1000km per million people which opens several opportunities for investors to come in coupled with creativity and innovation that it’s yet to birth. Africans still live in a largely non-sustainable system with limited resources which are not
sufficient to swallow all the pollutants that result from various human activities without the required sacrifices. It is pertinent to find solutions for previous problems, research with their new concepts and knowledge, which allows us to make appropriate decisions for assuring the continuity of economic growth to have a cleaner environment for future generations.
The green economy will enable Africa to optimize the wealth it can draw from its natural resources and part of the strategies of the African Development Bank (AfDB) green growth include studying the impact of climate change on the three main Africa points of interest food, water, and power. The role of government in Africa green economy journey remains key and could experience a quantum leap if proper preparations are made and adhered to strictly. The four most important measures governments can put in place to promote green economy include:
- Policies – High-level leadership commitment to vision and policies can bring about new initiatives that will foster growth and promote economic development. Enforcing stricter environmental legislation, intensifying the competition, and intensification of environmental control are some of the key areas that should be looked at in terms of
policies to make sure growth is evident in several countries and the continents at large.
- Priorities – Wastewater, clean technology, designing new products and services, developing green products, reduction of the quantity of waste, and diversification of the range of products and services remain the core areas for developments relating to the green economy yet the governments need to prioritize which sectors to focus and channel resources to get the desired results as focusing on all at the same time might result in little or no progress towards achieving a green economy.
- Partnerships – Governments will have to partner with the Private sector to effectively carry out these initiatives on the continent. The private sectors stand to gain a lot of partnering with the government on a green economy project as this means that they earn more profit and ability to provide employment opportunities.
- Provisions – Knowledge, skills, awareness, financing, and incentives should be provided to citizens to encourage the initiative and promote the rapid growth of the green economy.
A green economy will not only protect the environment but bring about social impacts and create employments and building human capital in Africa. Unemployment in Africa stands at 23% but Green economy can create 60 million jobs by 2030 according to the International Labor Organization. African countries must start to adopt these policies and the investment in green the economy should be less expensive as they are developing from scratch as developed countries will have to start to review their comprehensively review economic policies. Morocco began to adopt green policies in the 1960s with its hydraulics dam program and this long-term infrastructure is respectful of the environment and has helped the local population to prosper also Sierra-lone has adopted similar initiatives going after value addition in agro-processing.
Africa can harness what it has in terms of environmental assets of the economy of the continent such as forest and wildlife management, soil conservations, and agriculture as it has close to 63% of the world’s uncultivated arable land. In Mauritius at 2019 green economy conference says green economy contributes 6% of the total jobs in the country but over time a green economy can provide more jobs if properly harnessed.
This article was written by Ajewole Emmanuel, A prolific writer with TYLC. He is the Director of Growth and Retention for Junior Chamber International University of Lagos chapter.