African countries urged on green growth agenda

With African countries steadily working their way to transformation, environmentalists have again reiterated the need to take into account green growth—to avoid future climate catastrophes that might result from environmentally hazardous decision.

Green growth is the means by which development can take shape without affecting the efficiency of natural resources. It is termed as the transition to a sustainable economy while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, minimising waste and inefficient use of

natural resources, maintaining biodiversity, and strengthening energy security.

Frank Rijsberman, the Director General of Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), told Inter Press Service that it is imperative that governments work to address barriers with financiers.

While speaking at the just concluded weeklong GGGI Week in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Rijsberman said that establishment of green cities, renewable energy and climate resilient agriculture in Africa should be “priorities” for the continent if it is to mitigate climate change.

“The most important thing is that the quality of growth really matters,” Rijsberman said.

“We know we need growth to fight poverty but when you have growth, growth, growth that is unchecked, you get what you see in Asia where cities are dealing with fine dust, with toxic air pollution which kills people. In Ulaanbaatar [in Mongolia], which had a wonderful growth spurt, last winter they had a state of emergency because you could hardly breathe the air,” he said.

“So the quality of growth for us really matters. Green growth for us is growth that is sustainable and inclusive. So it is not about large plantations that push small farmers out. It is growth that actually provides jobs to young people, which obviously are desperately needed,” he added.

The GGGI boss also noted that renewable energy revolution should be facilitated to take shape if developing countries can achieve inclusive growth.

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