The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) jointly organized the workshop "Green Growth in Africa: Concepts, Tools and Strategies for Building Greener Economies and a Sustainable Future". Hosted by the Zambian Ministry of Lands in Lusaka in January, the workshop attracted over 100 participants from 18 African countries, including representatives from bilateral and multilateral organizations.
The AfDB Green Growth team, co-chaired by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Change (ONEC) and the Climate Change Coordination Committee (CCCC), and the OECD explored with participants the rationale and enabling environment for green growth in Africa. Focused on peer-to-peer learning, country-specific presentations underscored that several African nations, at different stages of development, have undertaken broad initiatives focused on the transition to greener economies. Presentations by Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Mauritius and South Africa provided further evidence that green growth solutions can be tailored to different stages of development.
Yet the country specific efforts shared several key characteristics:
- High-level political support for green growth, ideally complemented by broad stakeholder consultations;
- A long-term vision for the country's development trajectory;
- An assessment of the current status quo and a review of development options in view of local and global environmental and socio-economic changes;
- A focus on programmatic rather than project-based solutions;
- An emphasis on enhanced cross-sectoral collaboration.
Following the conceptual and operational discussions on green growth, the second part of the workshop focused on using Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as a tool for identifying and assessing development options in their environmental impacts in relation to their socio-economic objectives.
Overall, the extensive discussions among country participations and institutional representatives illustrated that green growth should be recognized as a necessity and opportunity for advancing Africa's development in a sustainable and more equitable manner. It is clear that green growth is a process and phased approaches are needed that balance the short- and long-term needs of African countries.