Green industrialisation is the direction Africa should be following right now, a green economy approach to economic transformation as the continent catches up to the rest of the world industrially, the continent might as well implement the policies pre-emptively, is the crux of what Giovanie Biha, Deputy Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa explained to CNBC Africa.
This comes after the Economic Comission for Africa launched a report yesterday on the green industry.
“We believe there is not going to be a long and sustainable development unless Africa industrialises, we are one of the continents, if not the continent that is lagging behind in industrialisation.
Green industrialisation is a timely subject Biha says because of the COP21 agreement, the sustainable development goals and the Addis Ababa consensus with the financing for development.
It’s timely she says not only because of the agreements on climate but also a number of African countries are putting in place policy frameworks for industrialisation and trade.
“Because we are late comers, we can start in the right way, we can start industrialisation based on resource efficiency, we are basically saying that we have seen in the last few years in many countries that economic growth was based on export of raw commodities and now with the falling prices a number of countries are really vulnerable, so we are basically saying if we are starting to industrialise, let’s start in the right way.”
Biha says if we do not do it now, a few years from now what will happen is that we will try to retrofit and try to find productive modalities that are resource efficient and secondly many African countries are rich in natural resources and renewable energy so why not use this richness to support the industrialisation process.
She is not saying that non-renewable energy will not be used, but that there are a range of policy options.
“The report demonstrated that green industrialisation is doable and it is affordable and not only that, it makes economic sense,” said Biha.
She adds: “it is not about us feeling good about the environment but it makes economic sense and there are a number of examples in the report that show that even in African countries there are those countries that have been able to do it at an enterprise level and they have shown success because they were able to reduce the cost of energy.”