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Lusa - Business News - EU/Presidency: Private sector fundamental for Africa's green economy - interview

Lisbon, April.21,2021(Lusa)-The Portuguese secretary of state for foreign affairs and cooperation on Wednesday said there had to be more sustainable business models, stressing the "fundamental role" of the private sector in the transition to a green economy in Africa.

"The private sector has a fundamental place in this path [of green transition]. We need to make our business models more sustainable and take into account that making a profit, creating jobs and generating wealth has to be done in a sustainable way that respects the planet's natural resources," Francisco André said.

The Portuguese government official responsible for cooperation was speaking to Lusa ahead of the EU-Africa Green Investment Forum, which will be held on Friday in a mixed face-to-face and online format.

The initiative closes a month of dialogue between Europeans and Africans on sustainable development and green investment promoted by the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) with the holding of 23 virtual conferences, called "Green Talks", which began on 24 March from Dakar, capital of Senegal.

The initiative, said Francisco André, comes in a context where, apart from the pandemic, climate change is the greatest global challenge, considering that a "global and coordinated response involving all relevant actors" is needed.

"Africa remains a very vulnerable continent. It is one of the continents that contributes least to global warming, it is a very low emitter of CO2, but it is also one of the most affected by the consequences of this same global warming," he said.

"The four countries most affected in the world by climate change are in Africa: Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana and Madagascar," he added, stressing the urgent need to design consistent public policies that promote the green transition and that are attractive to the private sector.

André said that the current health and economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to rebuild more sustainably.

"At a time when we have to rebuild and recover our economic activity, it is good that we do so for a more sustainable, more resilient and more inclusive economic activity," he said.

This is why, he said, the holding of the EU-Africa Green Investment Forum was a fundamental instrument for creating a space for political dialogue between the two continents that would allow the consensus on the need to act on climate change to be put into practice.

"Europe and Africa must work together to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement [on climate change] and Agenda 2030 [United Nations development]," he said.

André explained that during the 30 days of conferences, which took place in several European and African cities, it was possible to hear public decision-makers, politicians, academics, experts, businesspeople and non-governmental organisations, in an unprecedented format of dialogue with society as a whole, which over 5,000 participants attended.

Francisco André also said that, in addition to a space for political dialogue, concrete instruments were needed to implement these policies, noting the adoption, at the European level in March, of a new financial instrument for cooperation and development, known as Global Europe.

This instrument has around €80 billion, almost a 10% increase on the previous framework, around 30% for actions, projects and initiatives related to combating climate change and almost €30 billion earmarked as a geographical priority for Africa, he said.

André, therefore, hoped that the EU-Africa Green Investment Forum would be a landmark moment with the presence of representatives of the European Union and the African Union, private companies and non-governmental organisations, in what he called a very fruitful mix of political decision-makers and representatives of civil society.

The forum, which will be held in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB), will feature speeches from European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, Sudanese businessman and philanthropist Mohamed Ibrahim and Guinean economist Carlos Lopes, amongst others.



Agency : LUSA

Date : 2021-04-22 10:38:00


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