Africa Represents a "Golden Opportunity for a Green Future" | World Bank Institute (WBI)

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  • Green and low-carbon growth are “golden opportunities” for Africa – along with the increasing economic development that is happening on the continent. 
  • This is a crucial time for global markets. Carbon markets are especially important both for and in Africa.    
  • The recent Africa Carbon Forum 2012 continues to be the leading knowledge-sharing and carbon trade platform in Africa. The World Bank and WBI are among the Nairobi Framework partners that support the organization of this event.
(c) Curt Carnemark, World Bank.
Working in the field, Ghana.

May 10, 2012 Tom Odhiambo and Maurice Kwadha are small-scale farmers in western Kenya. They understand all too well the impact of climate change on their local environment and food production. On just one acre of land inherited from his father, Tom and his wife Mary are now practicing improved agricultural practices that have enabled them to increase yields and make more money than other smallholder farmers in this hot and dry environment.

“This land was bare beforehand, but I have improved it through mulching, inter-cropping, and the application of manure,” said Odhiambo, who has a remarkable mix of maize, bean, groundnuts, bananas, sweet potatoes, and cassava on this small plot of land. He has also planted trees on the edges of his “shamba” and these trees provide fodder for his cow, act as wind-breakers, and when mature, will provide both firewood and fencing poles.

Odhiambo and Kwadha are among 60,000 farmers in the Kisumu and Kitale regions of Kenya who are participating in the first agricultural soil carbon project in Africa. This group of farmers are changing practices and earning carbon credits. In the process, they are improving their food security, helping to address climate change, and improving their lives and livelihoods. *

They are also demonstrating that there is significant potential to support Africa’s agriculture and rural development through the “triple-win” of increased productivity, enhanced climate resilience and greenhouse gas mitigation. And showing what “green and low-carbon growth” means in action.

Green and Low-Carbon Growth – Why Africa?
This is a crucial time for global markets with companies and governments around the world turning to emission trading to fight climate change and join a global market. Agreements reached at the recent United Nations Climate Conference (COP17) in Durban have provided clear signals that carbon markets and climate finance will continue to be part of the global response to climate change.

“The vast potential represented by African countries in the fight against climate change cannot be underestimated,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “The Africa Carbon Forum is where potential projects and developers and funders can meet, exchange ideas, and – it is hoped – take the concrete steps toward greening Africa’s future.”

Africa has enormous potential for sustainable, climate-friendly development, with an abundance of renewable energy resources to satisfy future energy needs. Despite this, Africa continues to face enormous obstacles to investment and lags behind other parts of the world in taking advantage of carbon finance to develop climate-friendly projects and to encourage the transfer of cutting-edge technologies and know-how.

It is a continent that offers a strong opportunity for clean technology projects, for example in renewable energy, in addition to Africa’s extensive forest resources. Clean technology projects could contribute to sustainable development and poverty alleviation without adding to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) could help African countries mobilize private and public resources to promote these types of activities.

open-quotesThe vast potential represented by African countries in the fight against climate change cannot be underestimated.close-quotesChristiana Figueres
Executive Secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The CDM is in the process of standardization to simplify rules for low-income countries. These rules will take into account the specific circumstances of Africa and other regions that are under-represented in the CDM market. These modified rules are expected to mobilize highly sustainable types of projects.

Other emerging approaches within the existing UNFCCC framework are expected to support African countries in moving toward low-emission development without compromising their economic growth. These approaches include Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions  (NAMAs), new market mechanisms, the CDM (its future, possibilities, and challenges), and climate-smart agriculture. 

Africa Carbon Forum 2012: Knowledge-Sharing, Carbon Trading, and More
A record number of 1,200 participants registered for this year's 4th Africa Carbon Forum (ACF), which took place April 18-20, 2012, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the UN Conference Centre. More than 80 countries were represented, including 35 African countries. 

The ACF is the leading knowledge-sharing and carbon trade platform in Africa. It brings together representatives from Designated National Authorities (DNAs), national focal points, and representatives from United Nations agencies, the World Bank, governments, and the private sector.

Kai-Uwe Schmidt, team lead of Carbon Finance Assist at the World Bank Institute, said “This conference exceeded our expectations in terms of the remarkable increase in the breadth and depth of the interactions among policymakers, experts, and practitioners from the public and private sectors." 

“I participated in the first Africa Carbon Forum back in 2007,” said Boniface Gissima Nyamo-Hanga, Technical Assistance Support Manager, Rural Energy Agency, Tanzania. “It was my first learning activity and interaction with the world of carbon finance….This year I am sharing our Tanzanian experience regarding the first CDM program on small hydro. We have faced many challenges from which we learned a lot, and we think it is useful to share with other African countries. We hope to register the program at the UNFCCC soon.”

* Read the complete article about Odhiambo and Kwadha and the World Bank’s Smallholder Agriculture Carbon Finance Project in western Kenya, climate-smart agriculture, and soil carbon.

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