By Joke Kujenya with Agency Report
Amid the vibrant discussions at the African Economic Challenge in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, climate experts are advocating a revolutionary cause ─ calling for the creation of an African carbon market to combat the looming threat of greenhouse gas emissions.
The call to action was sounded during an enlightening discourse on Day 2 of the conference where experts shared their insights on the intersection of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and industrialization in Africa.
Simon Mavel, an economist from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), unveiled research findings that showcased the potential of greening the AfCFTA by either adhering to existing National Determined Contributions (NDCs) or, more innovatively, by laying the groundwork for an African carbon market.
Mavel also emphasized that while there exists a delicate balance between emission reduction and economic growth, an Africa carbon market could remarkably curb greenhouse gas emissions while safeguarding anticipated economic benefits from AfCFTA reforms.
“African countries need to advance climate-resilient development through the creation of a regional green industrial policy,” suggested Seutame Maimele, an economist at Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS).
He proposed that the African Union, within the AfCFTA framework, should spearhead the establishment of a regional carbon market, creating an avenue for selling carbon credits and retaining funds collected by the European Union (EU) from the continent.
Maimele also touched upon the concept of debt-for-climate swaps, asserting the importance of holding the global north accountable for the climate change impact Africa is bound to face.
In a captivating exploration of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Abas Omar, a PhD candidate in Economics, presented the BRI as an alternative industrialization model for Africa.
Omar pointed out that the BRI, with its focus on energy and infrastructure, significantly accelerated China-Africa investment, promoting value addition to Africa’s industry.
The study recommended a prolonged a period of BRI membership, coupled with broader institutional and investment climate enhancements.
Turning attention to the role of services in sub-Saharan Africa, Bouraima Sawadogo, a Regional Integration Consultant at the African Development Bank (AfDB), emphasized the need for African countries to include services in their industrial policies.
Sawadogo suggested that the acceleration of AfCFTA’s protocol implementation could result in increased trade in services within the region, exerting a profound impact on industries relying on imported services.
As the African economies navigate the complex terrain of environmental sustainability and economic growth, the resounding consensus among experts is that a harmonized effort, marked by the establishment of an African carbon market, is crucial to combating greenhouse gas emissions and fostering a green horizon for the continent.