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SDGs: African leaders seek investments in green energy, water infrastructure

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

Some Africa leaders have called for concerted investments in energy and water infrastructure to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and African Union (AU’s) Agenda 2063.

The leaders stated this in a statement issued on the website of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The leaders spoke at the High-Level Political Dialogue on the sidelines of the Africa Day event held in New York.

The theme of the event is: “Harnessing water and energy for Africa’s sustainable industrialisation and inclusive economic transformation.”

It was co-organised by the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (UN-OSAA), (ECA), AU Commission (AUC), UNDP and the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (UN-IDEP).

The Acting Executive-Secretary of ECA, Antonio Pedro, underscored the need for African leaders to review its development process to achieve targets.

He said Africa has solutions to issues about sustainable development; African countries are disproportionately affected by multiple crises that reversed their growth.

“We must rethink development and lead a transition that is climate resilient, truly just, people-centred, inclusive, and equitable to deliver on the promises of the agenda.

“There is no shortage of opportunities, African-driven blueprints and innovative solutions to enable us to achieve the SDGs and to propel us to the Africa We want.

“Strengthening our implementation capabilities is a sine qua non condition for success, “he said.

Pedro said water remained key for the achievement of the SDGs and Agenda 2063.

He said through the Great Blue Wall Initiative, ECA in collaboration with other partners, sought to accelerate the blue economy in the Western Indian Ocean region.

The ECA boss reiterated the need to harness water and energy for Africa’s sustainable industrialisation and inclusive economic transformation.

He said there could be no net-zero by 2050 without universal access to energy by 2030, adding that it was essential to harness Africa’s abundant renewable and clean energy resources.

“Africa currently attracts less than 1.5 per cent of global renewable energy investments, which can be increased through improved regulatory and policy actions.

“By taking the lead in the green hydrogen space for instance, Africa can produce over $1trillion worth of green hydrogen a year by 2035.”

“The ECA, working with the Secretariat of the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions and other regional institutions, is supporting Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance members with green hydrogen potential.

“If realised, this can generate an additional 122 billion dollars to the GDP of member countries while creating about 4 million jobs by 2050.

“Not only are renewable energy opportunities immense, but they are also lucrative,” Pedro added.

He f said the global renewable energy market was expected to reach two trillion dollars by 2030 and just 10 per cent of this can add 200 billion dollars to Africa’s economy.

Garama Inoussa, Niger Minister for the Environment and Combating Desertification reiterated that Africa needed financial support.

Inoussa, also Chair of the ARFSD-9 Bureau, said there was need to tap renewable energy resources for sustainable development,

“It also needs to scale up innovative and transformative initiatives, such as Great Green Wall and the Great Blue Wall, to achieve the goals of 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063,” Inoussa said.

Also speaking, the Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa, UNDP, Ahunna Eziakonwa, said there should be a scale-up of energy moving forward.

She said there should be scaling-up of energy development models that worked, because energy poverty posed a serious challenge and needed urgent action.

Also speaking, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Lachezara Stoeva urged African leaders to embrace clean and green industrialisation.

“Acknowledging the need to alleviate energy poverty in the continent, African countries should come up with new strategies.

“They must embrace green and clean industrialisation strategies that promote equitable economic opportunities and help to address the climate crisis.

“Africa is changing its development narrative by launching ambitious initiatives that could act as game changers for the achievement of the SDGs and Agenda 2063,” Stoeva advised.

She said that sustainable industrialisation in Africa was crucial to promote inclusive economic transformation, enhance manufacturing and create decent jobs.

Mohamed Nasr, Minister Plenipotentiary in the Mission of Egypt to the UN, decried increased impact of climate change that had hindered growth in the continent.

He said increased climate impacts, cost of finance, challenges of food and energy security, called for action to enhance resilience and shift to more climate’s responsive development models.

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