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Three Essential Steps for Africa’s Net Zero Ambitions

The Africa Finance Corporation’s infrastructure summit in May saw the launch of a white paper calling for a pragmatic approach to achieving net zero in Africa. Africa accounts for less than 4% of current global greenhouse gas emissions. The white paper, entitled “Roadmap to Africa’s COP: A Pragmatic Path to Net Zero”, argues that there are limited benefits to be gained from reducing the region’s already far lower emissions. The report concludes that instead of cutting emissions, African nations will drive a far greater effect in combatting global warming by focusing instead on three significant areas of change: localising, rebuilding and “finnovating”. The report warns that worldwide momentum around climate action is likely to trigger dislocations in the global flow of capital, with unintended consequences for developing countries’ access to funds. This is already apparent in the redirection of capital flows to middle income countries to drive carbon emission mitigation, bypassing poorer and less polluting regions. This must be taken into account in devising a blueprint for a pragmatic transition for Africa that balances the continent’s very low emissions and development aspirations, while also ensuring that the region engages in a realistic global net-zero agenda.