With majority of Africans depending on natural resources for livelihood, a new African Development Bank report is urging the continent to embrace green growth in its developmental process.
Green growth in Africa covers the achievement of critical development objectives while seeking to maximize efficient use of natural resources, minimize waste and pollution, and enhance the resilience of livelihoods.
Launched May 27, 2013 at the ongoing African Development Bank Annual Meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, the Africa Development Report 2012 explores the rationale need for green growth in Africa's development process.
Titled "Towards Green Growth in Africa", the report which was produced by the African Development Bank, stated the 21st century presents a number of challenges for Africa and mentioned climate change, population growth, and the combined influence of these factors on energy transformation and agricultural markets.
With an emphasis on agriculture which employs about 60 per cent of Africa's total population and contributes a third of the continent's GDP, the report said "greening agricultural practices through agro-forestry and organic farming practices deliver short and long-term development benefits."
Apart from agriculture, the access to green technologies can increase productivity and efficiency in various sectors, the report argues.
In creating an enabling environment for Africa's green growth, the ADR made notice of several levers for promoting green growth and enabling the transition toward greener economies in Africa.
But the most strategic of these, it says, "is the progressive mainstreaming of green growth into upstream development planning and ensuring that the right institutional enabling environment is put in place."
It recommends that African countries should mainstream green growth in their development planning cycles, where the role that green growth approaches can play in meeting development objectives could have a more prominent role.
The report indicated that strengthened planning requires a broader integration of sectors, and the need for high-level political commitment cannot be overemphasized in charting long-term development visions.
It added that improved diagnostic, information and monitoring capabilities are especially important to adequately capture a country's natural resource wealth, assess risks to sustainability and monitor progress.
The report also encouraged the AfDB and other multilateral and bilateral organizations to facilitate the transition to green growth in Africa. "This can be achieved by facilitating awareness, knowledge sharing, and upstream technical support, as well as providing guidance and resources for programmatic and project-specific interventions."
While there may be efficiency gains and cost savings associated with green growth, there are likely to be upfront investment costs, which could constrain the transition, the ADR states.