RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Innovative sources of finance and resources from the private sector are key to achieving sustainable development in Africa, African leaders and world experts said yesterday at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, in Rio de Janeiro.
Speaking at a high level panel on “Financing Sustainable Development in Africa”, African states and their partners discussed resource mobilization for sustainable development – both domestically and internationally.
The panel also addressed the divide between the managers of money (international finance institutions – development banks, donors etc.) and facilitators of development (e.g. NGOs, CSOs).
Institutions that have access to global financial resources are sometimes constrained by their inability to effectively operate at a level where sustainable development initiatives are undertaken in a meaningful manner.
On the other hand, those who are able to do so are often either unable to raise the resources they need or are denied access to institutions who have such resources.
While green growth is often perceived as an expensive pathway to development, Aly Abou-Sabaa, chair of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Climate Change Coordination Committee observed that “not all green development options are expensive as many could derive benefits”.
Through its various activities supporting the transition towards a green economy in Africa, the AfDB has identified huge opportunities for the continent.
Ibrahim Thiaw, Director, Environmental Policy Implementation at United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said “two of the main issues plaguing the continent, namely desertification and waste management, represent some of the main opportunities”.
He explained that “desertification has the potential for land restoration, reforestation and creation of green jobs, conservation of biodiversity, recharging of underground water sources and agricultural activities”.
The perception of sustainable development requirements, from a burden or a risk, to a new set of opportunities, is novel.
The transformation of African economies to a green growth model offers an opportunity to mobilize additional resources. The current infrastructure gap in Africa puts it in a position to “leap-frog” to more advanced technologies and infrastructure, allowing it to deal with pressing development needs while reducing the environmental footprint.
Country representatives and development partners agreed that sustainable development commitments need to be made within the continent. It is also essential that these commitments are coupled with a reassurance that their implementation is feasible within a broader context, they said.
Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the African Development Bank – 20 June 2012