Botswana Goes Eco Way

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Botswana pursues green energy projects to create jobs

Botswana is pursuing certain programs and projects in the green energy sector, as the southern African country seeks ways of transitioning from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based one and creating jobs.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi made this revelation Wednesday when giving a keynote address during the Botswana World Economic Forum (WEF) post-analysis seminar in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana.

“In our quest to transition from a resource-based to knowledge-based economy and create jobs, there are certain programs and projects that we are pursuing, some of which are in the green energy sector,” said Masisi.

Masisi said Botswana, which is currently reviewing its integrated resource plan in order to expand the contribution of solar energy to Botswana’s energy mix, is working around the clock to ensure that there is the financing of programs and projects in the green energy sector.

The envisaged expansion in the contribution of solar energy in the southern African country’s energy mix is necessitated by Botswana’s best sunrise for solar energy, according to Masisi.

Mpho Regoeng, an independent energy expert based in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, told the seminar that green investments lead to a job shift instead of net job gains in the long run and may well create net new jobs in the short run if they are undertaken in an economy.

Regoeng cited an example by saying that investing in solar photovoltaic energy creates an average of 1.5 times as many jobs as investing the same amount of money in fossil fuels.

According to the International Labour Organization, a shift to a greener economy could create 24 million new jobs globally by 2030 if the right policies are put in place.

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Sub-Saharan African countries are committed to the speedy transition from fossil fuels to green energy in their quest to promote the resilience of cities bearing the brunt of climate emergencies, senior officials said.

The officials who spoke at a forum held in a hybrid format in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, stressed that greater adoption of renewable energy in the rapidly growing cities will be key to generating jobs and strengthening the response to climate change.

Monica Juma, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for Energy, said that a new green energy agenda for African cities was imperative, to help them cope with the unfolding climate crisis.

“Sustainable urban energy solutions will unleash inclusive growth, generate new jobs, promote social inclusion and greater ecological protection in the continent,” said Juma.

Convened by the Nairobi-based green lobby, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), and Chatham House, a London-based policy think-tank, the one-day forum aimed to explore innovative ways to realize a just, green, and resilient transition for African cities.

Nnena Lily Nwabufo, the Director-General, East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office at African Development Bank (AfDB), said that multilateral lenders have prioritized financing of green projects in the continent, to hasten low-carbon and resilient growth.

According to Nnena, investments in climate resilient infrastructure projects like roads, power grids, water, sanitation, and housing, have ensured that African cities are able to withstand shocks like floods, heatwaves, and rising sea-water levels.

Nwabufo said the Pan African lender has set aside special funds that municipal authorities in the continent can tap into and implement green projects that generate jobs besides strengthening the protection of natural habitats.

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She added that the Nairobi forum under the theme, “Towards just transition in Africa: Green financing for urban energy solutions and job creation”, will inject vitality into efforts to renew African cities through green mobility, clean lighting, and cooking alongside circularity.

Philip Kilonzo, the Head of Policy, Advocacy, and Communication at PACJA said that new policy and legislative tools should be enacted to support the creation of green and resilient urban centers across the Sub-Saharan African region.

Investing in sustainable energy systems, low carbon mobility, and waste management should inform efforts to promote the resilience of African cities in the face of climatic shocks, said Kilonzo.

Grace Kibuthu-Ogola, a financial sector specialist at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, said that structured green investments are required to strengthen climate mitigation and adaptation for African cities.

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