Provide a green economy in Africa

Provide a green economy in Africa

Kenya is looking to accelerate electric vehicles (EVs) as part of the National Climate Change Action Plan 2018-2022. (AFP)

As the global economy undergoes a fundamental decarbonisation transition by 2050, the question for Africa is whether it can industrialize and grow rapidly without fossil fuels. The answer to this question is “yes” if the international community can reach a new global agreement on a growing green economy.

The new contract must include at least three major commitments. First, the international community must establish a green energy fund to promote a fair energy transition in Africa. It will promote local green energy entrepreneurship, including green production, supply chains, market access and green technology innovation.

Second, a global consensus must recognize that export of raw materials is the main reason why Africa remains poor despite its vast mineral and commodity wealth. The international community must reject this status quo and establish a framework for investment in green production in Africa as the third pillar of the global compact.

This could take the form of global joint ventures and strategic partnerships to build factories in Africa, with greener projects at the fore. By developing a manufacturing and value-adding economy, Africa can achieve rapid industrialization, knowledge and technology transfer, and significant reductions in poverty rates.

Kenya offers a model for reforming the energy transition. We want to build a sustainable digital knowledge community that is diverse, open, inclusive and democratic. It will be driven by research, innovation and prudent management of our natural resources within a well-managed, diversified economy. We aim to become world leaders in all aspects of the green economy, including finance, information and communication technology (ICT), data science, research and development and manufacturing.

Our ambition matches our history. While fintech was still in its infancy, Kenya emerged as a global leader in the sector with the invention of the M-Pesa digital payment system. Then, in 2009 alone, we attracted new investments in the software and IT sector from 63 countries. Today we host global companies such as Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), Cisco, Oracle, IBM, Abbott Laboratories and Meta (Facebook). As a growing global hub for ICT, Kenya is one of the most innovative countries in Africa today.

Promoting green industrialization can create a large number of well-paid jobs and lift millions of people out of poverty.

Raila Odinga

In the field of environment, Kenya’s favorite daughter, the late Wangari Maathai, was awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for creating the Green Belt Movement, a leading global campaign to protect ecosystems and the links between poverty, clean water, food security and to address climate. alter. Earlier, in October 1973, Kenya became the first country in the global south to host a United Nations agency. The United Nations Environment Program is headquartered in Kenya and has 23 United Nations agencies.

Kenya is a leader in the renewable energy sector 75% of electricity comes from solar, geothermal, wind and hydro power. By deploying decentralized smart grids and green microgrids, we can achieve 100% renewable energy with rapid expansion of rural electrification to improve digital and financial inclusion.

But Kenya is just getting started. Our natural resources are enormous. We have large deposits of rare earth elements and critical minerals essential to electric vehicles (EVs) and other technologies needed to drive decarbonization. When used properly, these minerals can be the building blocks of sustainable green manufacturing, infrastructure and supply chains. Promoting green industrialization can create a large number of well-paid jobs and lift millions of people out of poverty. Quality “green products” based on modern best practices command high prices. By promoting high-value industries, we will unleash our greatest resource: the potential and talents of our youth.

But this transformation requires investment in green infrastructure and the human capital needed to maintain green business ecosystems. For this reason, I believe that Kenya, like many developing countries, should make green production a national priority. We can make rapid progress towards this goal by increasing decarbonisation and productivity in agro-processing sectors such as cotton, textiles and clothing. We need to restructure the steel industry to produce high quality “green steel” and produce high value products based on rare earth elements and the important minerals available in Kenya.

The same is true across Africa. Imagine that the chocolate is made entirely in Ghana or Côte d’Ivoire. Imagine electric car batteries made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and green steel from Kenya. Imagine that the copper is completely processed in Zambia and the diamonds are exported as finished products from Botswana. Imagine Africa as a global producer of green hydrogen and a pioneer in carbon capture technology. Imagine a continent that can outperform the rest of the world in green technology, research and development, manufacturing and finance.

This is a realistic look. But this requires a new global agreement. With the full support of the international community, appropriate financial facilities, the promotion of green production and the export of raw materials from Africa, countries like Kenya can set the pace for building a sustainable economy for the 21st century, displacing millions of people . Poverty and protect the future of our planet.

The former Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga (2008–13) is a presidential candidate. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2022.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by authors in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News.

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