As Africa seeks to accelerate its economic transformation and human development, the continent has not escaped the impact of fresh challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to reverse a number of development gains on the continent, such as food security, trade, health, education and peace.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on Monday launched the Building Forward for an African Green Recovery report, which highlights the continent's bold post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery strategy.
The report seeks to bolster the continent's quest for the realization of sustainable development goals, attainment of the Paris Agreement's climate change targets and achievement of the prosperity objectives articulated in the African Union's Agenda 2063.
According to the report's findings, the African region will face its first recession in 25 years with output losses due to COVID-19 estimated to be $99 billion. This is compounded by climate impacts on economic output projected to cause annual losses of between 3 to 5 percent of GDP by 2030.
"For us to build back better we need a lot of energy. The conversation in Africa is about substituting expensive, bad fossil fuels with something that is cleaner and cheaper. We have to replace fuel-based energies with green and sustainable ones," said Vera Songwe, UN executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa.
Songwe noted that with the impact of COVID-19 and its associated economic contractions, coupled with the debilitating impact of the climate crisis, Africa's focus on recovery is even more essential.
In his remarks, Albert Muchanga, the African Union's commissioner for Trade and Industry, said the organization will work with the Economic Commission for Africa and other partners in fulfilling the objective of an African post-pandemic green recovery program.
"Africa has immense renewable energy potential to boost its economic growth through adoption of cleaner energy pathways, which are a boost to adaptation and climate mitigation," Muchanga said.