African countries which embrace climate change in post-Covid-19 recovery will attract more finances while addressing social challenges and achieving robust sustainable growth.
This is the main finding of a new report by Powershift Africa that examines the social, economic and fiscal impact of Covid-19 on the continent and makes recommendations on how best to integrate policy initiatives to kick-start growth.
The report titled, Positive Agenda Advisory and the Society for Planet and Prosperity was a collaborative effort that drew on three case studies conducted in East, West and North Africa.
Mohammed Adow, Director of Powershift Africa, said the pandemic is a reset moment providing a chance to shift away from stranded fossil fuel assets and invest in clean energy.
“Africa is blessed with wind and sun; making that the bedrock of our recovery is the fastest and most sustainable way to ensure Africa prospers,” said Adow, adding that “we need to find ways to cushion ourselves from economic climate vulnerability. This can be done by prioritising renewable energy. We also need to predict and adapt to future risk and uncertainties by thinking in the long term and turn these threats to opportunities.”
While the concepts of green recovery have gained some level of popularity, there has been limited national and international discussion on what they mean for Africa, said Prof Chukwumerije Okereke, Director of the Center for Climate and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University in Nigeria.
The Covid-19 pandemic unleashed unprecedented pressure on domestic revenue and if not addressed could result in untenable debt burdens.
Fathallah Sijilmassi, CEO of Positive Agenda Advisory said “immediate climate action and finance are crucial -- especially in the run-up to COP26. There is a golden opportunity to make this a turning point for Africa’s accelerated growth and development.”
The report also warns that narrow focus on economic recovery that ignores climate change and the broader objectives of sustainable development will cost Africa more economic pain in the long run as “there is a perception such green recovery interventions come at a cost, but this is not the case” said Rym Ayadi, President of the Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association.
He added that “every dollar invested generates up to $6 (Sh600) in environmental and climate value.”