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Green Economy Key to African Growth, Says UN

Published on Thursday 24th February 2011

Developing countries like Kenya will achieve higher growth by moving into what is known as Green Economy, a new UN report says. The model challenges a long-held view that developing countries may not industrialise without large-scale environmental pollution.

Green Economy refers to sustainable development that takes care of the environment while growing the economy. The report, Toward a Green Economy, demonstrates that investing in green projects will result in rapid growth and poverty eradication. "Kenya has been leading the way for many African countries like in developing geothermal power and is currently building Africa's biggest wind power project in Turkana," said Unep executive director Achim Steiner when releasing the report yesterday.

The report calls on countries to invest Sh103 trillion, or two per cent of global GDP, into ten key sectors to kick-start a low carbon, resource efficient economy. .

The sum would grow the global economy at around the same rate if not higher than those forecast, under current economic models.

In Kenya, the government has already taken steps toward a green economy.

MPs in August last year approved a motion calling on the Government to develop emission standards, curb pollution and combat climate change.

North Horr MP Chachu Ganya said development envisioned by the Vision 2030 was likely to generate high pollution and accumulation of toxic waste and greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. MPs called for solar, biogas and wind energy as alternatives to the diesel and petrol engines in factories and other manufacturing plants.

Yesterday's report says a green economy will also save governments millions of shillings in treatment of pollution-related diseases. The report was compiled by UNEP in collaboration with economists and experts worldwide.

The findings were presented to environment ministers from over 100 countries at the opening of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum in Gigiri.

Pavan Sukhdev, head of Unep's Green Economy Initiative, said: " "A Green Economy is not about stifling growth and prosperity, it is about reconnecting with what is real wealth; re-investing in rather than just mining natural capital."

The meeting was also attended by administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Jackson.

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