African Economic Conference Endorses Green Growth for Future Prosperity

28 October 2011: The Sixth African Economic Conference (AEC), convened under the theme of "Green Economy and Structural Transformation," closed with an endorsement from delegates for green growth and structural transformation of ec0nomies on the continent to ensue future economic growth and job creation.

The conference convened from 25-28 October 2011 in Addis Ababa to discuss envir0nment, climate change and green growth and the impact these issues will have on Africa's future prosperity. Participants heard that agriculture in Africa has suffered has suffered due to land degradation, soil erosion floods and drought, but the possibility of green development means that the continent's economic backbone can be strengthened.

Delegates were reminded that structural transformation and green growth in Africa's economies can only be achieved if sufficient technology transfer occurred, in order for the continent to be at the same technological level as the rest of the world. Meles Zenawi, Ethiopian Prime Minister, noted that this lag offers a chance for leapfrogging in technological development and stressed that this is a matter that needs to be urgently addressed.

Behavioural changes in in all sectors of the economy matched with adequate financial resources was also stressed. This was cited as critical to achieve growth and job creation that can be sustained over the long-term. Delegates heard that sectoral priorities and frameworks are key, and need to be coordinated at the national and regional levels.

The outcomes of the conference will inform the negotiations of the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which takes place in Durban, South Africa from 28 November to 9 December 2011 as well as the UN  Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20) to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 4-6 June, 2012. [AfDB Press Release] [UNCSD Press Release]