Africa Day At HLPF – Post-Covid-19 Green Recovery Needs Clean Energy, Nature-Based Solutions and Digitalization

Renewal energy, digitalization and nature-based solutions to climate change and environmental degradation should be the cornerstone of an inclusive and resilient post-COVID green recovery in Africa, participants at the Africa Day event at the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) heard today.

In Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic lies an opportunity to rethink how the continent approaches growth and development; its management of the environment and natural resources; and how to “leverage the existing tools and knowledge to build forward, build greener and build better,” said the Special Adviser on Africa to the UN Secretary-General Cristina Duarte at the onset of the virtual event.

“Digitalization can be a game changer,” Ms. Duarte said. With COVID-19 changing the way people keep in touch or transfer money and how students receive education, addressing the digital divide will help reduce inequalities in Africa. It was noted that about 250 million primary and secondary school students in sub-Saharan Africa were impacted by school closures during the pandemic, while in other parts of the world, students continued to learn online.

With the theme: “The Green Recovery: Renewable Energy, Digitalization and Nature-based Solutions for Inclusion and Resilience in Africa,” the Africa Day event was co-organized by the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and African Union Commission (AUC).

Africa Day at the HLPF is a platform for African Member States and other stakeholders to share experiences and best practices. It is held every year as a side event to the High-Level Forum.

Digitalization can be a game changer.

Cristina Duarte

Special Adviser on Africa to the United Nations Secretary-General

This year, the Africa Day took place on the same day the AU launched its Green Recovery Action Plan. The plan is centered around climate finance, renewable energy, nature-based solutions, resilient agriculture, and green and resilient cities.

Energy, the heartbeat of production

However, at the heart of sustainable recovery lies easy access to energy. And for a green recovery, access to clean energy is key.

Narrowing the digital divide without adequate access to energy would be practically impossible, the meeting heard.

Today, across the African continent, 900 million people do not have access to clean, safe fuels and technologies to cook, heat, or light their homes, UNDP’s Regional Director for Africa, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa pointed out.