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Southern Africa needs mindset change and homegrown solutions to achieve transition to inclusive green economies

19 February, 2024
Southern Africa needs mindset change and homegrown solutions to achieve transition to inclusive green economies

Lusaka, Zambia, 19 February 2024 – “In Botswana we believe that if we put our energies behind the green economy initiatives the sub-region will be successful in their endeavours to reduce the effects of climate change. To solve and implement the green economy initiatives we need capital, technology and mindset change and the big question is how do we fund these initiatives as governments?”.  Said Ms. Seipati Grace Olweny, Acting Permanent Secretary, speaking on behalf of Ms. Ellen-Richard Madisa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry of Botswana.

She was speaking in her capacity as Chair of Inter-governmental Committee of Senor Officials and Experts (ICSOE), at the Virtual High-level Policy Dialogue organized by the  United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (ECA SRO-SA) on the theme of the 2024 ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (COM), “Financing the transition to Inclusive Green Economies in Africa: Imperatives, Opportunities and Policy options”.

At the same event, Ms. Eunice Kamwendo, Director of the ECA SRO-SA welcomed participants saying the dialogue was the precursor of the upcoming COM and permitted the region to have a collective common position on issues that guide appropriate policy responses and interventions by member states.

She indicated that the meeting sought to, “stimulate discussions on the theme of COM2024, from a Southern African perspective which is very important; reflect on the financing opportunities and policy options for accelerating the transition towards inclusive green economies in Southern Africa; and share success stories from countries within the region that are on the right path towards green transition with the right financing frameworks”.

The event provided a platform to socialize the COM issues paper presented by Mr. Linus Mofor, Senior Environmental Affairs Officer, UNECA. He emphasized the importance of national level opportunities such as mobilizing private sector capital, supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and lessening debt with the use of contract innovations such as debt-for-nature swaps, in addition to leveraging sustainability bonds.

The issues paper also indicates that, “an important pathway for Africa, as it strives to improve access to energy for its firms and citizens and grease the wheels of its green industry, lies in accelerating the deployment of clean and renewable energy technologies. Yet, as pointed out in the World Energy Investment 2023 report, of the approximately US$ 10 trillion invested in clean energy globally between 2015 and 2022, only about 2 per cent or US$ 211 billion went to Africa. The African clean energy transition will require, as noted in the Issues paper, an annual investment of about US$ 190 billion over the period 2026-2030”.

In line with the issues paper, Mr. Brian Mubiwa presenting on behalf of Ms. Rose Mwebaza, Regional Director, Regional Office for Africa, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said it was imperative for southern Africa to transition to a green economy to mitigate the effects of climate change affecting the region and that the pathways for green transition includes renewable energy and innovative financing to transition into green economy.

During the dialogue participants from the Southern African countries shared national experiences on

The pathways for Southern African countries to finance their transition towards Inclusive Green Economies (IGE) and analysed how to accelerate a transition towards IGE.  Prof. Desta Mebratu, Extraordinary Professor, Stellenbosch University, South Africa pointed out that the transition to IGE must be people centred requiring mindset change to achieve inclusive growth. Ms. Nangula Uaandja, Chief Executive Officer, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, informed the meeting that access to funding alternatives lie in public and private sector collaboration by creating an enabling environment to allow local funding to thrive through start-ups.

Ms. Paula Cristina from Angola called for the implementation of the Doha protocol on risk management and diversification with special focus on green initiatives; Dr. Mao Amis, Executive Director, African Center for Green Economy, South Africa looked at IGE as a key for job creation in Africa; Mr. Hedges Tembo, Ministry of Green Economy and Environment, Zambia  said the solution lies in setting right priorities by creating an enabling environment and Mr. Ken Poonoosamy, Chief Executive Officer, Economic Development Board called on African countries to turn challenges into green opportunities, citing Mauritius as an example. He said, “Mauritius has reduced carbon emissions by 40% and intends to implement 60% renewable energy projects by 2030”. Dr. Addisu Lashitew, Associate Professor at McMaster University highlighted the need for African MSMEs to play an active role in the transition to IGE and to address their financing and technological constraints.

Director Kamwendo wrapped up the dialogue by giving a summary of key contributions that need to be communicated to COM. She noted that the dialogue would help going into COM with proposals for a Southern Africa Development Community transition strategy. Issues of regulatory frameworks, how to access available resources, reflections from Namibia, Angola and Botswana raising key issues of national capital so that the region becomes a key player in the green transition.

The concept notes and programme of the Dialogue are available at:

Further information on COM are available at:

Issued by:
The Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
P.O. Box 30647, Lusaka, Zambia.

Media Contacts:
Mrs. Lavender Degre,
Communication Officer,
Tel: +260 211 228502/5 Ext. 21307
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