NAIROBI — There is an urgency for African governments to reform existing policy and regulatory frameworks and align them with trading practices that promote climate resilience and sustainability, experts said on Monday.
Fatima Denton, Director of the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA), said the continent should leverage creation of borderless markets to promote low carbon trade and investments, and achieve inclusive growth.
“We must come up with new policy instruments to promote green trade as part of response to climate change in the continent,” said Denton.
“The benefits of green trade include creation of new jobs, enhanced competitiveness for our products and growth of small and medium sized enterprises,” she added.
Policymakers and experts on Monday attended a webinar on green trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), convened by UNU-IRNA and Washington-based think tank, Brookings Institution.
According to Denton, creation of a continental trading bloc could help Africa address endemic poverty, negative impacts of climate change and create new jobs in the clean technology sector. She said that greening supply chains in the continent, adoption of cleaner manufacturing and sustainable consumption patterns, will place Africa on a climate resilient development pathway.
Olumide Abimbola, executive director of Africa Policy Research Institute, a think-tank, said the continent stood to gain from green trade amid improved response to climatic shocks, reduced poverty, inequality and better health outcomes for communities.
Abimbola said that transfer of clean technologies and innovation that will be enhanced under a continental trading regime will stimulate green investments and growth. Wisdom Akpalu, professor at the Environment and Natural Resource Research Institute based in Ghana said the continent should harness massive investments to be unleashed through borderless trading to hasten transition to low carbon development.
According to Akpalu, unrestricted trade in green energy technologies combined with adoption of sustainable practices across supply chains will boost climate action in Africa.