During the last decade, European countries have been developing their economies by making extensive use of limited resources. The environmental impact of such a fast pace development has not been measured. However, today, with climatic changes and new technologies, emerging economies have to face new challenges. They have to achieve development while preserving the environment, being energy efficient and sustainable in their efforts. In the case of the African continent, the creation of a “green economy”, which will bring together economic growth and sustainability, has been addressed. But when will it turn into reality?
At a time of full economic growth, Africa’s major objective is to progress while abiding to the principals of the green economy. One of the continent’s motivation is to ensure that the actual and future generation have the necessary amount of renewable resources to improve the quality of life of many Africans.
The green economy model is based on the idea that an economy can create revenue and employment with the help of investments. The objective is to reduce greenhouse gas and protect a country’s biodiversity and eco-system. Moreover, a green economy requires a rational management of natural resources on which the growth depends for the improvement of human well-being and social equity.
The issues addressed by African stakeholders are: demographic challenges, food safety, energy security, climatic change, healthy growth and greater equity in the allocation of resources.
African leaders admit that a green economy represents an opportunity for a sustainable development. Many countries have started to shift to this model. Here are a few examples:
- The development of organic farming in Uganda and Tunisia (285 000 hectares of land are meant for biological agriculture in Tunisia).
- The construction of green cities in Morocco, Egypt and Algeria.
- Public transports are also concerned, as they are set to get cleaner in many countries.
For most of the African countries, the urgency is to continue growing but by adding their populations to the equation. Growth should also be environmentally sustainable while creating future employment.
However, the public policies advocated tend to slow down the economy. Policymakers are still reluctant to changes and are more in favour of traditional activities. In fact, without political support, which largely accounts for investment decisions, there will be no change.
Unfortunately, inequalities do exist between countries with distinct development speed.
The states need to act together to develop a global vision by redirecting choices of investment towards activities which favour ecological conversion. There is also the need to set up coherent plans when it comes to investment policies, employment, and Research and Development.
Consumer behaviour and companies also need to evolve to be even more Eco-friendly. With this in mind, the States will have to come up with informative and educative campaigns, while creating tax instruments, incentives and price signals.