Archive for the ‘Climate change’ Category

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe are living in interesting times as the world wakes up to a revolution and a new kind of thinking. Green growth has come to be a standard way for both developing and developed countries alike to use resources better and in more efficient ways.

As we clasp onto green economies, there is a need to develop new and innovative financial solutions to facilitate the growth of green technology. Many global reports now conclude that having the right kind of science, technologies and innovations is at the heart of sustainable development.

Africa, for example, has for long missed out on technologies and innovations chances that have seen other regions massively reaping gains. And in the face of this, we need to see much more commitment by our parliamentarians in investing in research institutions and efforts towards innovation and entrepreneurship.

The private sector and national government must work together to achieve technologically-proven solutions (products, processes, technologies) that help make better use of natural resources.

In order to change this, we need a serious reform of our priorities to those that would fast pace our economic issues. What better way than promoting policies that would boost business science, research and agricultural productivity?

Indeed good times are ahead, as $450 million being pledged between investors, green businesses, governments and other parties at the now concluding the 2013 Global South-South Development Expo. Many other promises were made, Kenya to build organic fertilizer factories and clean energy projects, solar power plants in Uganda and green businesses for women in Egypt. The UAE also pledged to host the first global conference on UN Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) in March 2014 in Dubai.

I am part of a proud team, spread across the world, that aided GSSD 2013 online popularity. GSSD has even trended on Twitter in Kenya using the hashtag #GSSD 13

Cheering us on,

“Still going strong. We’ve been trending in Kenya…again!” said Davide Piga, the UNEP knowledge specialist and coordinator of the Team.

“Meaning that the message of the value and growing scope of South-South cooperation reached the next generation of development practitioners, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, thinkers and leaders”.  (UNEP)

So the challenge is now up to all of us to keep the conversation going beyond the expo, keep the stakeholders accountable to stay true to the promises and pledges made.


Numerous challenges stand in the way of Africa’s ambition, one might lax, stuck amidst this tangles of economic and social fails that have crippled progress.

Why do we fail, wandering aimlessly unable to feed our children and yet countries with a fraction of the resources we boast of manage to become first class nations amidst of the worst of economic crises?

More than 218 million people live in extreme poverty. Poverty has made the continent writhe in other opportunities fiends like climate change yet its economies rely on climate-dependent sectors such as water-fed agriculture, and its capacities to cope and adapt are generally limited.

What’s worse when breaks like HIV/AIDS, corruption, conflict and wars keep stagnating this fight against poverty.

So has money set us apart? Yes the lack of it at least. – Undoubtedly, poverty has put an unbearable strain on Africa.

However, while noting Africa’s maladies it would be dispiriting not to mention the improvement in telecom innovation has broadly improved quality of life across sub-Saharan Africa. There has been an increase in African countries that have embraced technology as a driver of development, e.g. Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Rwanda’s rapid ICT growth.  Despite sub-Saharan Africa’s impressive economic performance over the past decade, which has resulted in marginal poverty reduction, her way to economic liberation is still beset with thorny issues that need a massive and quick clean up!

Africa has remained aloof, missing out on technologies and innovations opportunities that have seen other regions massively reaping gains.

And in the face of this, we still do not see much allegiance by parliamentarians in investing in research institutions and efforts towards innovation and entrepreneurship.

The latest world University ranking proves this as only three universities in Africa, all in South Africa, made it to the top 400 in the 2012/2013 Reuters/Times Higher Education.

Countries are making a kill from technology and innovation, yet what we see in our backyards are continuous ranting about political supremacy rather than issue-based politics, a distraction to the public and an amusement backed by our media.

Africa, a great consumer of technological knowledge from other region’s innovations still falters behind, lacking aggressive policies and commitment to build its own capacities.

In order to change this, we need a serious reform of our priorities to fit in reforms that would fast pace our economic issues.

What better way than promoting policies that would boost business science, research agricultural productivity, for example?

Our governments need to encourage its own initiatives aiming at transforming Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) knowledge structures. Initiatives like tech hubs need to be supported by governments and the private sector.

We need to buzz up these young African talents and the works to increase the competitive impact they so aim.

We need to need to tap into the private sector; continual handouts will not liberate us. Our leadership needs to cultivate an environment where entrepreneurs can foster their small and medium–size sized companies.

Access to capital needs to be improved to help firms establish strategic partnerships within and beyond the region.

Most of us have now earned ourselves 50 years of independence, yet we are trapped in the continuance reliance of on NGOs and hand-outs. Crippled with widespread corruption that is costly and that has derailed development and augmented socio-economic disparities.

Our problems may seem complex but one sure thing is that innovation and entrepreneurship are the best comebacks to set us a competitive edge, globally. And true to this cheeky quote, whoever said money can’t buy happiness, just doesn’t know where to shop.

Almost two disasters of significant proportions are recorded every week in Africa since 2000. (UNISDR)

The number of people exposed to floods in in Sub-Saharan grew from 500,000 per year in 1970 to almost 2 million per year in 2010. A new UN report, Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR 2011) reveals.

“Around 400 million people in the region live below the poverty line, and 200 million are considered to be under-nourished. Income poverty and food insecurity play a major role in land degradation, as the poor and hungry are forced to over-exploit natural resources to meet their immediate needs for survival,” UNISDR.

More so, the Media has always been the vanguard of providing information in the event and the aftermath of these disasters, be it droughts, floods, landslides etc. The challenge posed is: If the need to communicate is most pressing at a time of disaster, just how much more is it in preventing that disaster?

Disaster reduction as opposed to disaster response evades unnecessary and costly loss of both lives and property. For this reason, disaster risk management should be considered as an investment for any country, and the media can ascertain to this only if they change their manner of reporting disasters.

The Gar 11 further reveals that that disaster risk is an investment to any country drawing several examples.

New York

“New York has chosen an alternative: instead of spending US $6.8 billion in conventional pipe and tank improvements, it has decided to invest US$5.3 billion in green infrastructure – permeable pavements, more green areas, and other measures to address its problem of drainage capacity. Green infrastructure acts like a sponge – absorbing and regulating peak water flows.

Brazil to India

Countries from Brazil to India have shown that mechanisms designed to address structural poverty can be used to stop disaster prone households from sliding into poverty by providing a buffer. These programmes reach out to millions of households (12 million households in Brazil reached with only one programme – Bolsa Familia) and can be adapted at relatively low additional costs. The government has only last week announced that it wants to expand this programme (mid-June 2011).

Chile Earthquake

For example, after the 2010 Chile earthquake and tsunami, the Chilean Government extended payments from the country’s social assistance programmes, Chile Solidario and Programa Puente, to households affected by the February 2010 earthquake, whether they were structurally poor or not.”

“Greater public awareness can translate into greater government accountability” (HFA Mid-Term Review 2010-2011).  More coverage is thus needed to sensitize the public and influence policy underlying issues that affect the economy such as the direct correlation between disaster-related economic losses and the limited investment in risk management particularly at the local level.


A continent that highly depends on tourism is in threat of the sector’s forecasted collapse. The price Africa would pay for their environment would be dear than what she has already ignored..

Rising sea levels could destroy an estimated 30 percent of Africa’s coastal infrastructure, according to a new UN report on the impact of climate change on the continent. Coastal settlements in the Gulf of Guinea, Senegal, Gambia and Egypt could be flooded, according to the report produced by the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Focusing on the highlighted countries, in Gambia, tourism is the second highest earner in foreign revenue while Egypt is said to have topped tables in terms of tourist revenue, which last year alone hit $7 billion!

The effects would be felt on the population, infrastructure, fishing and tourism. The damage would have befallen on that which generates money. And worse still the little that would have left would be diverted to combat these damages. .

Let’s pose and picture not only on the lost lives at the Coast when the unimaginable occurs, but also about the lost revenue. Let’s think of a demise of an industry. Africa’s loss is not only Africa’s problem but a global concern. If this cradle land that the world obsesses goes down, we would be in a catastrophe!

This directly translates to this: no honeys moons, no get aways – no investments . Our beautiful coastal hotels would be nothing but remains. Local and international tourism would have faced a big blow.

Ideally, the world is lucky that a death has been foretold. We need not to sit back, we need an alarm, and we need to fright and act.

What’s your role in this as a critic send me your views.