Green growth is not an expensive option, says expert

Environment minister Vincent Biruta speaking at the opening of the forum. / Courtesy

The maiden Africa Green Growth Forum opened in Kigali on Monday with environment experts calling for stronger commitment to green building, sustainable infrastructure and energy efficiency as critical components to the continent’s sustainable development.

The week-long gathering kicked off with High Level Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy Policy Dialogue and Launch of Rwanda NDC Partnership Plan.

Environment Minister Vincent Biruta said that the forum will facilitate African countries to share knowledge, learn what is happening around the world to create more awareness on opportunities that green growth path way to development offers.

"We are here to discuss about the Rwandan green growth and climate resilient strategy and how it will help the country to achieve Sustainable Development and how it will help to inform the rest of Africa and the world in the same effort," Biruta said.

The first ever Africa Green Growth Forum has brought together over 1,000 investors, policy makers and financial specialists from across the continent to examine the opportunities that come with green growth as well as some of the challenges impeding its uptake across the continent.

The week-long forum is themed ‘For A Green and Climate Resilient Africa’.

The Forum will encourage private sector investment in green growth, improve the understanding and use of finance as a tool for climate resilience, build partnerships between stakeholders working in Africa’s green growth sector and provide a platform for partners to engage and build relationships that accelerate the green growth agenda.

Speaking at the high level Green Growth an Climate Resilience strategy policy dialogue, Frank Rijsberman, Director General of Global Green Growth Institute said that green growth is not only affordable but also the best way to addressing climate change.

"I would like to bust the myth that Green Growth is very expensive. It is not only a necessity, it is also affordable," Rijsberman said.

Rijsberman also proposed that Rwanda should ensure the following targets for next national Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy (GGCRS); a hundred percent Renewables leading to net zero emissions, a hundred per cent Electric Vehicles—which he said that would become cheaper soon, a hundred Green Buildings, a hundred MHa of Climate Resilient agriculture plus a hundred million green jobs for the next generation of young Africans.

Rijsberman also mentioned that he was pleased to know that Rwanda's new Airport—Bugesera would be the first Green Certified Airport in the region, given that it will feature a host of green building features promoting resource efficiency.

Fodé Ndiaye, UN Rwanda Resident Coordinator noted that it is everyone’s responsibility in advancing the Green Growth and Climate Resilience strategy and to continue to educate the wider public about the low carbon growth, natural resource management.

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