Climate-Smart Infrastructure Investments in Africa Needed

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A report from the World Bank, “Climate Change Adaptation and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa”, published in October 2021, shows that the region is slowly emerging from the recession, and its GDP growth projection is much slower than developed economies.  

According to the report, a speedy and widespread roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine and external financing will help accelerate the region’s economic recovery.

Africa’s unique situation – low baseline developing, climate vulnerabilities, low use of fossil fuel, dependence on agriculture will exacerbate the effects of climate change and open opportunities for greater uptake of renewable and clean technologies.

African policymakers should seize this opportunity and make climate change a source of their structural change. For example, policymakers can tap domestic and international funds to expand the electric grid through the adoption of renewable energy, which can subsequently create new and green jobs.

“In a region where much of the infrastructure, cities and transportation systems are yet to be built, investments in climate-smart infrastructure can help cities create job”, and “They need to mobilize resources both domestically and internationally to deliver new jobs that are greener – and in the vicinity of existing products – and foster the manufacturing of more green products in the medium term”, the report says.

In African cities that lack critical infrastructure, investing in climate-smart infrastructure can help create thousands of jobs, benefiting its continent’s youthful population. Sixty per cent are under 25 years old from its total population, making the continent the world’s youngest and fastest-growing. The United Nations projects that Africa will reach 2.5 billion in population by 2050.

“Financing climate-change adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa is essential, and policies to mobilize resources are critical to creating more, better, and sustainable jobs,” the report mentions. 

Investing $215 billion in South African cities will yield a return of $700 billion and create 120,000 jobs by 2050. IN Ethiopia, an investment of $42 billion will rake in a return of $240 billion and create 210,000 new jobs. In Kenya, a $27 billion investment will yield a return of $140 billion and will employ 98,000 Kenyan youths, the report shows.

“For instance, energy-efficient retrofits of buildings, low-carbon municipal waste and water, and green urban transport can deliver benefits to cities in the short and medium-term”.

Local governments’ adoption of climate-sensitive urban policies will be vital to leveraging their limited public funds with private sector investments to achieve these vast potentials and for the region to address urgent problems like flooding, limited energy access, intense heat, and pollution.

You can read the entire report here:

Source Citation:

Zeufack, Albert G.; Calderon, Cesar; Kubota, Megumi; Korman, Vijdan; Cantu Canales, Catalina; Kabundi, Alain Ntumba. 2021. Africa’s Pulse, No. 24, October 2021: An Analysis of Issues Shaping Africa’s Economic Future. Washington, DC: World Bank. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.

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