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Lisbon, 24 Jun 11

The City of Nairobi, Kenya © UN-HABITAT-Julius Mwelu

More than 77 countries and representatives of international organizations including UN-HABITAT attended the annual meeting of the African Development Bank early June in a new quest for sustainable growth on the continent.

In his opening speech, the Bank President, Mr. Donald Kaberuka, emphasized the need to promote growth that benefits everyone. The theme of the gathering was, "Towards an agenda for inclusive growth in Africa".

UN-Habitat was among the participant institutions at the 46th Annual Meetings, reflecting the increasing importance of urban areas for economic growth and social development against the context of a continuing rapid urbanization process on the continent.

The Bank's Department for Energy, Environment and Climate Change organized a side event on "Promoting Green Growth in Africa". The seminar, moderated by BBC journalist Komla Dumor, explored the related opportunities, constraints of fiscal and policy changes, the transfer and diffusion of clean technologies and sustainable manufacturing processes, as well as the greening of specific sectors, particularly energy, agriculture and transport.

Mr. Christian Schlosser, Chief of UN-HABITAT's Urban Transport Section explained the importance of green growth opportunities through investments towards sustainable urban mobility on a rapidly urbanizing continent.

He said there had to be a wider recognition of the concept of "green growth" since more effective and compact urban planning for expanding cities, improved public transport systems and non-motorized transport infrastructure can be as important drivers for greener economies as new technologies.

The African Development Bank presented two new funding mechanisms to support green growth opportunities in the context of a "Green Growth Now" seminar: the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa designed to support clean energy and energy efficiency projects; and the Africa Carbon Facility designed to support low carbon investments in Africa.

Overall, participants agreed that "greening" economies did not preclude the creation of wealth and jobs. It is not a luxury, but a choice of development oriented towards a more sustainable future. Green growth opportunities should focus on productive investments, which can enable African countries to escape poverty without eroding the continent's natural resources.

Comprehensive information on the African Developement Bank Annual Meeting can be found on http://www.afdb.org/en/annual-meetings/

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