Unleashing the Potential of Rural Economies in Africa through Green Growth

  • Expected start date:
    June 1, 2013
    Expected end date:
    June 30, 2016
    Project Status:
    Project Type:
    Project Manager :
    Calvin Atewamba

    Over the decades, economic growth has been a major concern of national governments and of the whole international community. In recent years, it has become evident and there is increased awareness that developing countries cannot afford to pursue the path that neglects the environmental consequences of the growth process. There are many reasons for this. Developing countries are already severely impacted by environmental degradation and climate change. Growth is eroding natural capital, which constitutes 25% of the total per capita wealth in these countries and thereby increasing risks to development. Soil erosion, drought and water pollution all have devastating effects. These challenges compound with those of increasing poverty, income inequalities and high unemployment. A paradigm for sustainable global development has emerged recently. It is the concept of green economy, which is not entirely new by itself. It is characterized by an economy that is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. Green growth strategies aim to pursue economic growth and development while preventing environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and erosion of the natural resource base. Evidence from developed and some developing countries suggest that green growth can lead to increases in productivity, increases in income and create employment, to name a few. For developing countries, it is important to understand how a green growth trajectory can address some of their major developmental challenges that include high unemployment, increasing poverty, environmental degradation, pollution, biodiversity loss, soil erosion and lack of access to energy. It is equally important to understand how these developing countries reconcile green growth strategies to some national development plans that may run contrary to the green economy concept such as the increased use of fertilisers for food production and thus food security and biofuels. The proposed project addresses the knowledge gap on green growth in Africa. It seeks to provide a better understanding on how African countries can translate increased innovations for low-carbon technologies and services and increased productivity from efficient use of resources, recycling and waste management into increased employment from green jobs, inclusive growth and enhanced natural ecosystems. In addressing this question, the project also will provide insight into the potential contribution of environmental good and services on value-addition and employment. The project will also examine the opportunities and challenges for transitioning into a rural green economy in order to help diversify rural employment. The role of the government, the private sector, civil societies and knowledge-based institutions will also be explored. The project proposes to train trainers and consequently will build the capacity of researchers and provide them opportunities to carry out high quality research. The United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) seeks the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)’s Supporting Inclusive Growth (SIG) program initiative in the amount of 1,000,000USD to undertake this three year project. UNU-INRA is contributing about 290,000USD. It has also received commitments from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for support in the amount of 120,000USD and from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation for an amount of 100,000USD.

    • Calvin Atewamba
      Project Manager
    • Euphrasie Ben Houassa Kouame
    • Elias Ayuk
    • Benjamin TURKSON