Unlocking Africa’s Natural Capital: Mobilizing Resources for Sustainable Development – Africa has a tremendous potential to attract investment and accelerate economic growth by leveraging its comparative advantages. However, access to international capital markets remains challenging due to investors’ perceptions of high risk, and official development assistance has declined significantly since 2010, reaching its lowest level of $34 billion in 2022 according to OECD estimates.
To mobilize the resources needed to finance sustainable development, Africa must look to its abundant natural capital resources such as fresh water, forests, mineral deposits, natural gas and oil reserves, and arable land. With 30% of global mineral reserves and significant contributions to the world’s production of six key minerals, Africa has immense potential to attract investment.
The Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group, to be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from May 22-26, 2023, aim to demonstrate the potential of Africa’s natural capital. The meetings will feature discussions on how natural capital, in addition to private sector investment, can be a financing vehicle for the continent’s climate change adaptation and mitigation actions and its green growth ambitions.
The discussions will also focus on other important topics such as local content and value addition, trade and regional integration, infrastructure, finance and investment policies, human capital and skills development, and technology upgrading. In addition, the meetings will review the African Development Bank’s new initiative to integrate natural capital into development financing in Africa.
Some African countries are already effectively leveraging their natural capital resources. For example, Morocco has established huge solar and wind energy plants, and Egypt harnesses the Nile River and the Suez Canal in various ways.
The Benban solar photovoltaic power plant in Egypt is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by two million tonnes per year and generate 3.8 terawatt-hours of electricity per year.
Overall, the meetings in Sharm El Sheikh provide a platform for experts, African ministers, and Bank governors to discuss and share successes in tapping into Africa’s natural capital resources to achieve sustainable development.
Unlocking Africa’s Natural Capital: Mobilizing Resources for Sustainable Development