Focus areas for Africa’s green agenda

In recent times, the term going ‘green’ has gained notable traction in both the political and business world. Increasingly, we are called to realise the impact that our social and economic activities have on the environment around us, and in turn, the long-term implications that this impact has. In this article, we take a look at the key focus areas for Africa’s green agenda.

Africa is experiencing unprecedented growth, with many investors expressing interest in investing on the continent. With this potential for mass expansion and development comes a necessity to acknowledge issues of an environmental nature.

In a recent report on the green agenda in Africa, Kenya, South Africa and Ghana were noted as African countries promoting development projects and initiatives with an environmentally sustainable focus. It has been noted that Africa holds sufficient natural resource and human capacity to deliver on going green.

Suggested focus areas

Going ‘green’ requires a starting point, and while there are many sectors and areas that have environmental impact, the suggested areas for focus are:

Energy supply

Energy access in Africa is a prerequisite for further economic growth and imperative in the fight against poverty. Developing an efficient and sustainable approach to energy will benefit the continent from both an environmental and investment perspective. Alternative clean power comes from the likes of wind, solar and waste.

Infrastructure

The infrastructure deficit in Africa calls for expansive development in the region and with this comes a concern for the environmental impact. As seen in Ghana, Africa and Kenya, green infrastructure projects should be promoted and prioritised in order to secure the sustainable development initiative across Africa.

Transport

Without effective and efficient transportation systems in place, many Africans have to rely on traditional, unsustainable methods of transport. These are often associated with carbon emissions and can have financial implications for the individual given the ever-rising petrol price.

Waste Management

In South Africa, the Durban Waste to Energy Project sees the conversion of methane gas derived from household waste into electricity. This is evidence that there is opportunity for more effective management of waste and the utilization of waste in Africa. Poor waste management has further implications on the environment and on the standard of health on the continent.

Going ‘green’ in Africa

These identified areas all have implications on the environment when not approached with an environmentally sustainable mindset. Traditional energy is resource intensive, and a heavy or sole reliance on non-renewable resources can only spell trouble. Infrastructure requires space, energy and water considerations while transport has implications for both the individual and for the broader environment.

Going ‘green’ is imperative for economic growth and overall development on the continent, requiring the support of the government, businesses and the individual.

What are you views on the green agenda, and do you feel that being green is a attainable in Africa?

David Okwara

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