How to sustain Africa’s Green economies

Posted on April 26, 2014 11:59 pm

I might have a common curiosity of what could contribute by infrastructure, one of the biggest requirements to fast-track Africa’s development from a third world to first world in the next 50 years. Meeting adequate infrastructure is already an enormous task for the continent. While in a larger essence, green infrastructure may lead us to an understanding about landscapes and other open spaces, management, planning and control that conserve ecosystem support services that provide benefits to the human population. The continental push to be green now reaches almost every aspect of development, including green infrastructure. On a small scale green infrastructure can be seen as an approach to support sustainable communities that will provide multiple environmental benefits. It is something that all stakeholders in the development of African countries need to pay attention to. There are many components of green infrastructure associated with water uncertainty, clean water, drainage, urban environment, spatial planning and other elements that may safeguard critical natural areas. Thinking about green infrastructure is thinking about how we, urban groups, may survive in urbanization. On all scales, green infrastructure is always associated with cost-effectiveness for longer-term investment as well as beneficial land use. The concept emphasizes environmental sustainability, but unfortunately is often not well adopted. As mentioned before, greening the infrastructure allied to additional elements is associated with expensive technologies.

African countries have been trying to support green economic activities through engagement of various international organizations, with many stakeholders in the infrastructure sector in the continent waiting for a clear direction that is strategically planned and managed. The interest of the business community in the development of green infrastructure in Africa encompasses a wide range of issues. It is more than just about winning infrastructure contracts. There is an increased pressure on the environment to sustain the growing number of people in African cities. The challenges will push countries to reconsider its development. Green infrastructure could mean the protection of population, their livelihoods; pollution control; energy use in urban centers; and permanent protection of thousands of hectares of natural habitat and open spaces. Striving for green cities means dealing with clean air, efficient energy, transportation and water conservation. Green experts have always said that infrastructure is more than infrastructure itself and is about human existence and the sustainability of human existence and survival.

Contador Harrison