Green Economy A Reality In African Nations

Nearly twenty years after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, African countries are creating a model for sustainable development around the world, according to Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

At a recent meeting with African leaders in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, Steiner highlighted the major strides that have been made by South Africa and Kenya since 1992.

image via UN Environment Programme

South Africa’s Green Economy Plan focuses on investments that create green jobs, and has poured nearly $1 billion into railways, energy-efficient buildings, and water and waste management. Kenya’s new green energy policy–including a feed-in tariff and 15-year power purchase agreement–has been credited with catalyzing an initial target of 500 megawatts of energy from geothermal, wind and sugar wastes systems.

In looking ahead to UN Conference on Sustainable Development, slated for Rio de Janeiro in June of 2012,  the UNEP has released a report outlining how investing 2 per cent of global gross domestic product in 10 sectors can catalyze the transition to a green economy, using these and other sustainable development success stories from Africa as examples.

The full text of the report is available online [PDF].

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.