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Home-made solutions can steer Africa’s transition into inclusive, low carbon, and resource-efficient economies

28 February, 2024
Home-made solutions can steer Africa’s transition into inclusive, low carbon, and resource-efficient economies

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 28 February 2024 (ECA) - The 42nd meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (COM2024) kicked off today in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe with a call for countries to transition into inclusive, low carbon, and resource-efficient economies by tapping into home-grown innovative solutions for financing.

The annual ECA Conference of Ministers is being hosted by the Government of Zimbabwe on the theme of ‘Financing the transition to inclusive green economies in Africa: Imperatives, opportunities, and policy options’ between 28 February- 5 March, 2024.

Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe’s minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion said with 127 million hectares of potentially irritable land of which only around 13% of this land is currently being used for irrigation, “it is unfortunate that Africa is not leveraging its resources, including land.”

“We have vast water bodies to irrigate our rich soils; all we need is investment in advanced irrigation technology and enough funding to climate-proof agriculture so that we become food-secure,” said Mr.Ncube.

“Financing the transition to inclusive green economies comes with a cost and we need to finance this transition with the support of the international community and promoting investment in renewable and environmentally friendly sources of energy,” he added.

Antonio Pedro, Deputy Executive Secretary at the ECA indicated that since the last Conference of Ministers, the world has fallen deeper into economic fragility, climate change, conflict, and distrust. Sadly, Africa has not been spared from these global trends.

“We must accelerate the adoption of just and sustainable transitions, which require long-term structural changes and adequate investment,” said Mr. Pedro.

African countries, he said, have the ability to create their own solutions to solve their problems. This should be a collective focus as in the continued fight to reform global systems.

“We have, therefore, a unique opportunity to actively transform our countries by transitioning into inclusive, low carbon, and resource-efficient economies,” he stressed.

Rebecca Otengo, outgoing chair of the Conference of Ministers and, Ugandan ambassador to Ethiopia, said countries should strive to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) for free movement of people, goods and services on the continent and noted countries need additional financing mechanisms to meet this growing demand and boost economic growth.

The ECA Deputy Executive Secretary highlighted the key transformative areas that can have catalytic and multiplier effects across all the SDGs:

First, is the urgent need to transform our food systems by prioritizing the development of regional value chains, de-risking investment and fast-tracking the implementation of the AfCFTA. These measures will help to insulate the continent from global food security shocks.

Second, Africa needs to enhance energy access and affordability - Less than 2 percent of global clean energy investments flow to Africa. We need to embrace the transition to affordable renewable energy by making the most of our solar, wind and geothermal resources as well as our green hydrogen potential.

Third, we must increase digital connectivity and inclusion to bridge the digital divide that prevents our member States from taking full advantage of the digital age and accessing technological solutions that are available elsewhere.

Fourth, education systems must be transformed. To do this, he said, we must undertake comprehensive foresight analysis that will inform the transformation of education systems and curriculums.

Fifth, we must create jobs and enhance social protection. Governments must pursue integrated, comprehensive industrial policies and private sector development strategies that create jobs for young people and improve the transition from school to work.

Lastly, we must embolden our response and collective action on climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution by implementing the Nairobi Declaration that acknowledged that climate change is the single greatest challenge facing humanity and the single biggest threat to all life on Earth.

The Committee of Experts meeting is a two day event holding from February 28-March 1, 2024, followed by side events on March 2-3, 2024.  The Ministerial Segment will run for two days on March 4-5.

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826