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How can green growth benefit Africa?

Eun Joo Allison Yi's picture
Photo: Sarah Farhat/World Bank Group

What exactly do we mean by green growth? For us, it’s not just about riding bikes and planting trees. The Korea Green Growth Trust Fund (KGGTF) defines green growth as adopting an innovative approach toward reaching nations’ goals for sustainable development and addressing climate change. It is a framework for decision-making and a proven process for turning people’s hopes into reality.

Green Growth is about improving quality of life for everyone, and working towards solving environmental, social, and economic issues simultaneously.

One of the most effective ways to solve problems is to see how other countries, sectors, and industries have solved similar issues, and to apply their experience. To champion this, KGGTF has brought together leaders, practitioners, and technical experts working on innovative projects around the world to meet in Africa.

Korea Green Innovation Days 2017 takes place in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, on April 4-7th.  Colleagues from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and many other countries are gathering at it to examine examples of best-practice and share ideas that can be replicated elsewhere.

Three days of dynamic presentations, panel discussions, and interactive workshops are highlighting World Bank-supported activity in Africa, as well as action being taken and progress made in other parts of the world, such as in Kosovo and India.

Africa’s population is expanding and, in just 20 years, the number of sub-Saharans reaching working age will exceed that of the rest of the world combined. In order to create a dynamic economy, Africa can harness opportunities that the process of building new infrastructure will bring to building new industries and new economic sectors, too—sectors that could provide high quality, well-paid jobs for decades.

By applying green growth principles, Africa can develop in a way that protects its rich natural resources and ensures shared economic prosperity for all of its citizens, now and in the long-term. The continent has an enviable opportunity to take advantage of new, innovative technologies being developed all over the world. It is leveraging the lessons it has learned and the technical knowledge it has gained globally. By putting this knowledge to work it can avoid the costly mistakes made by other nations and work toward building a strong, sustainable economy, one where its people breathe clean air, and also move around their communities and towns with ease.  

South Korea as a development model

South Korea is a unique development success story. After a devastating war, it built a dynamic and inclusive economy by investing in urbanization and jobs. It took a methodical approach, prioritizing education and infrastructure. The country is now pioneering green growth on the global stage. Its pattern of economic development is a highly relevant model for Africa.

Take one sector as an example: Over the past decade, Korea has developed advanced technology for monitoring fishing stock and ensuring fishing laws. Assisted by the KGGTF, this technology is being adopted by West African coastal nations to help communities, improve the health of fish stocks, and improve the safety of fishermen at sea.

Monitoring and enforcing fishing regulations is an example of green growth in action. It will improve income from the fisheries industry, create other jobs, and provide food security.

Another example is green growth in cities: Many African cities are experiencing rapid urbanization. This is straining their infrastructure and services, posing serious challenges to development. Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa is one of these cities. Through an innovative capacity building program, the KGGTF is providing technical assistance to the city’s Urban Planning Institute and supporting local and international consultants to work together to revise the city’s master plan for development and implement it.

In this way, technical knowledge and learning from around the world will help—to create jobs, build skillsets, and provide solutions to the city’s long-term economic development.

We believe that working together we can make green growth happen.

The Korea Green Growth Trust Fund (KGGTF) is a partnership between the World Bank Group (WBG) and the Republic of Korea.