7 December 2011 - As a continent of mainly developing economies, Africa can least afford to lose percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to climate change. Where GDP is built on unsustainable growth, there could be adverse economic effects in the future, said the moderator Buchizya Mseteka, adding that this made mitigation and adaptation both an environmental and an economic imperative.
Agreeing that Africa should depend less on unsustainable, Hela Cheikhrouhoum commented that it was not just desirable but possible, pointing out that: "Green growth is viable as Africa is rich in renewables - wind, sun and rivers," noted. "Of the Bank's annual approvals, a growing proportion features renewable energy sources."
"The SA Renewables Initiative has shown renewables can deliver an economic opportunity," commented Simon Zadek. "Two years ago there was little interest from business or government because renewables were small-scale and creating few jobs."
Now solar and wind power have been scaled up nearly 10-fold and green-growth dividends are being delivered through reductions in the brownouts and blackouts. The South African economy and its people suffered a lot from power cuts and shortages during 2008.
"The next step is negotiating lower-cost debt for renewable energy versus coal, otherwise a country moving large-scale to renewables could develop an exposure problem. So this policy issue must be resolved at a political level."
Having missed the ICT revolution, governments don't want to repeat the mistake by becoming consumers of other people's goods - especially as they're also becoming aware that renewables can offer job creation, said Sharmala Naidoo of the South African Renewables Initiative. read more>>>