The Minister of Energy, Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, emphasized during the Annual Meetings in Marrakesh: “Sierra Leone’s commitment to green growth will ensure high quality growth that benefits Sierra Leoneans”. It will enhance Sierra Leone’s international reputation; and make the country’s economy more resilient and competitive, thereby creating jobs while also attracting additional development financing, including from the private sector.
Sierra Leone has made impressive social and economic progress in the ten years since the Civil War ended, and has succeeded in establishing democratic institutions at both central and local level. As implementation of the 2007-2012 Development Strategy “Agenda for Change” approached completion, Sierra Leone embarked, in the summer of 2012, on preparation of a new strategy for the 2013-2017 period,” Agenda for Prosperity” (A4P). Recognizing the country’s wealth in natural resources, both renewable (fertile land, water, fisheries and forests) and non-renewable (minerals, and potentially oil and gas), as well as the need to manage these resources responsibly and sustainably, the authorities requested the assistance of the AfDB in mainstreaming green growth in the “Agenda for Prosperity”. Promoting green growth on the continent means addressing existing and emerging development challenges without locking into pathways that deplete Africa’s natural capital and leave economies and livelihoods more vulnerable to climate change and other environmental, social and economic risks.
For Sierra Leone, green growth was integrated in its Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for the reduction of poverty. According to the Energy Minister, Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, this strategic choice includes the sustainable development of infrastructure, energy and cities, the management of renewable and non-renewable natural resources, as well as the reinforcement of resilience facing exogenous shocks.
Green growth is about empowering African countries to reach their development objectives, while maximizing natural resource use efficiency, minimizing waste and pollution and building resilience. Building green economies consequently means ensuring that economic progress for Africa’s growing population is robust and sustainable in the face of local and global environmental change.
A panel of eminent African leaders and experts discussed how this transition to green economies can be achieved. Sierra Leone is making inclusive green growth a central focus in its development planning process. In this context, Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, Minister of Energy of Sierra Leone, emphasized the importance of African countries to define their long-term vision and take ownership of this essential agenda. Desta Mebratu, Deputy Director of UNEP’s Regional Office for Africa, added that ownership over this green growth was particularly crucial with regards to social innovation, as communities and local farmers for instance are the most creative in terms of green economy.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.