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African experts call for innovative financing to boost green transition

NAIROBI, (The Southern African Times) – Sub-Saharan African countries should explore innovative financing models to promote climate resilience for communities and their natural habitats, experts said Monday ahead of Africa Climate Week that starts Tuesday.

The climate experts and policymakers who spoke at a virtual forum said that Africa’s green aspirations can be realised, subject to robust financing, friendly regulations and technology transfer.

Fatima Denton, director of the Ghana-based Institute for Natural Resources in Africa with United Nations University (UNU-IRNA), said the continent required smart investments and revamped policies to hasten green recovery.

“Africa should leverage new financing and policy tools to strengthen adaptation to climate change and hasten green and inclusive recovery from COVID-19 pandemic,” said Denton.

Senior policymakers, scholars and campaigners participated in the virtual forum organized by the Brookings Institution, a U.S.-based think-tank, and United Nations University prior to the start of Africa Climate Week.

Denton said that climate change remained an existential threat to Africa’s sustainable future, adding that a host of fiscal and regulatory tools can be harnessed to boost resilience of communities and ecosystems.

According to Denton, the continent should leverage investments in clean energy solutions, climate smart agriculture, digital technology and green transport to reduce its carbon footprint.

She called on multilateral lenders to provide financing, technical support and capacity building required to stimulate low carbon development in Africa amid vulnerability to climate induced disasters.

Jean-Paul Adam, director for Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management with UN Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA), said that a shift from fossil fuels combined with research and community engagement is key to realizing a green future for Africa.

According to Adam, African countries were spending 5 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to respond to climatic shocks hence the need for them to scale up investments in adaptation to ward off economic losses.

“Domestic resources mobilization should be part of the climate resilience and green recovery objective for the continent,” said Adam.

Vanessa Ushie, manager of Policy Analysis Division of the African Natural Resources Centre of African Development Bank (AfDB), said that climate financing should be at the heart of the continent’s post pandemic recovery pathways.

According to Ushie, African countries should address the financing, knowledge and technical gap that has derailed green transition through partnership with industry and multilateral lenders.

She called on governments to invest in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis in Africa, adding that women-led interventions have proved effective in boosting the continent’s green transition.

Aloysius Uche Ordu, senior fellow and director of Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, said the continent should tap into home-grown interventions like increased uptake of clean energy, carbon tax and biodiversity protection to spur green recovery.

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