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UNECA and AU Publish 2011 Economic Report on Africa

29 March 2011: The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU) have published the 2011 Economic Report on Africa, titled “Governing Development in Africa: The Role of the State in Economic Transformation.”

The report, inter alia, examines the implications of a “green economy” for Africa, including what a green economy entails, its opportunities and challenges for Africa, and how African countries can achieve a “green economic transformation.” The report, which is published annually, was launched during the Fourth Joint Annual Meetings of African Ministers in charge of Finance, Economy, Planning and Economic Development, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 28-29 March 2011.

This year's report contains an appraisal of the economic performance of Africa for 2010 and projections for 2011. Among other things, it analyzes the long-standing and emerging development challenges that Africa faces, including trade performance and integration into the world economy, financing for development, climate change, and the need to deepen its engagement in the green economy. It highlights that the continent faces some fundamental environmental challenges, such as the vulnerability of agriculture, tourism and fisheries, which are among the largest sources of employment on the continent, to climate change and other environmental risks. It notes further that Africa's lack of energy security and self-sustainability are also a great impediment to sustainable development and renewable energy generation, despite its significant potential, is not being developed. The report concludes that all these challenges require Africa to make a transformation to a “green economy” that enables economic growth and human development without exposing future generations to significant environmental risks and ecological scarcities, while creating new opportunities for green growth and employment.

The Report also underlines the role of the state in achieving the required economic transformation and promoting a green economy by, inter alia, encouraging green private investment through increased public spending on environment-friendly goods and services, and introducing policies that expand demand and create a market for clean products; and reforming harmful policies and strengthening institutions and processes. It concludes that Africa's future economic and development strategies should be based on a “green economy” model, in order to ensure that accelerating economic growth and making the structural transformation required to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other social development goals remain consistent with environmental sustainability. [UNECA Press Release] [2011 Economic Report on Africa]