African countries that include climate change action as a central objective in the planning and implementation of their post-Covid-19 economic recovery plans are more likely to attract finance, address social challenges and achieve robust and sustainable growth. This is the main finding of a new report that examines the social, economic and fiscal impact of Covid-19 on the continent and makes recommendations to policy actors on how best to integrate policy initiatives that will kick-start growth.
The report — compiled by Powershift Africa, Positive Agenda Advisory and the Society for Planet and Prosperity — is a product of collaborative work from teams across the continent and draws on three case studies conducted in East Africa, West Africa, and North Africa. The case studies examine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in different parts of Africa and then make recommendations as to what actions African policy actors can take on their own and those that should be pursued through coordination with international development partners.
“The concepts of green recovery and building back better have gained some level of popularity recently, but until now there has been limited national and international discussion about what these concepts mean for Africa,” says Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, Director of the Center for Climate and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike Nigeria. “The concrete recommendations in this report are hugely important to steer the continent on the path of a green resilient recovery.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has unleashed unprecedented pressure on and threats to domestic revenue capabilities for national budget financing that is already fragile and if not addressed swiftly could result in untenable debt burdens. This calls for global solidarity, partnerships and support including through debt relief to enhance the country’s fiscal capacity towards a resilient and climate-aligned recovery.
“The pandemic has stretched, and continues to stretch, regional and global health and financial and socioeconomic resilience to their very limits,” says Fathallah Sijilmassi, CEO of Positive Agenda Advisory. “For this reason, immediate climate action and finance are crucial — especially in the run-up to COP26. There is a golden opportunity to make this a turning point for Africa’s accelerated growth and development.”
The report also warns that a narrow focus on economic recovery that ignores climate change and the broader objectives of sustainable development will cost Africa more economic pain in the long run.
“There is a perception in some quarters that such green recovery interventions come at a cost, but this is not the case — especially now after the pandemic when financial and social constraints are so much tighter,” says Mrs Rym Ayadi, President of the Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association. “Every dollar invested generates up to $6 in return. Investments in rebuilding are essential components of any recovery and we now can harness added environmental and climate value, too.”
Mohammed Adow, Director of Powershift Africa, says that the pandemic is a reset moment and provides a chance to shift away from stranded fossil fuel assets and invest in the clean energy of the future. “Africa is blessed with wind and sun; making that the bedrock of our recovery is the fastest and most sustainable way to ensure Africa prospers,” he said.
A Pan-African Webinar to explore and discuss the recommendations of the report will be held on 16th September 2021 at 12pm GMT, 1 pm BST, 3pm EAT/ 1PM (ABUJA).