African countries must build sustainable and resilient economies by enhancing their efforts to design and implement credible macroeconomic frameworks to promote structural transformation.
Dr Hanan Morsy, the Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said this at the ongoing 2022 African Economic Conference (AEC) on Friday in Balaclava, Mauritius.
The AEC being held from Dec. 9 to Dec. 11, has as its theme “Supporting Climate-smart Development in Africa”.
According to her, African ccountries should reduce dependence on external debt and take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
She said AfCFTA would accelerate the industrialisation and diversification of the productive sectors of their economies.
“African countries should ensure a just and equitable energy transition that capitalises on the continent’s abundant renewable energy resources and critical minerals.
“Build agricultural and food systems that are resilient to external shocks, and invest in the production and uptake of climate information services, as well as early warning systems.”
Morsy said the theme for the conference was timely and provided the opportunities to propose recommendations for supporting climate-smart development in Africa.
“African countries are the most vulnerable to climate change while contributing the least to global greenhouse gas emissions.
“Africa needs to close huge development gaps by investing substantially in key sectors such as energy, agriculture, transport, water, and cities, among others.”
To this end, she said that 47 African countries had submitted revised nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to climate action.
Morsy said the NDCs were submitted ahead of the global stocktake on climate actions in 2023 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process.
Morsy also said the NDCs required close to three trillion dollars to implement, which resulted in climate-smart development that was based on investments.
She said the investments were in clean energy systems, climate smart agriculture, green industrialisation, and enhanced and inclusive governance and enabling policy and regulatory frameworks.
“But African countries need support to translate their NDCs into bankable investment plans that can attract financing from the private sector.
“This is particularly so if NDCs are revised to enhance ambition with clean energy, climate smart agriculture and green industrialisation actions that can readily attract environmental, social and governance (ESG) financing.”
Morsy, however, said for more of these investments to happen, countries must also make effort to address the policy and regulatory barriers to investment.
She also said that for investments to happen, it should be supported with de-risking tools and instruments, with capacity for enhanced liquidity that reduces sovereign costs of borrowing.
Furthermore, she said climate-smart development in Africa was the only development model that would unleash the continent’s potential to achieve its development aspirations.