Von der Leyen calls for African green deal

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on Friday called for the creation of an African Green Deal which, like the European Green Deal, would be the "centrepiece" for Africa's recovery. [EPA-EFE]

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on Friday called for the creation of an African Green Deal which, like the European Green Deal, would be the “centrepiece” for Africa’s recovery.

Speaking in a recorded message at the opening session of the EU-Africa Forum on Green Investment in Africa, Ursula Von der Leyen called the European Green Deal the “new energy for growth and the centrepiece of recovery” of the European Union (EU).

As such, the leader of the EU executive believes that “the same can be true for Africa” through the creation of “an African Green Deal for a stronger and more prosperous Africa”.

“The green transition is not just a necessity to fight climate change. The green transition is the biggest economic opportunity of our times and can be the engine of our recovery, simultaneously in Europe and in Africa,” she stressed.

Von der Leyen gave the example of renewable energy which, “right now, is cheaper than most other energy sources and creates more jobs”, noting that, with the “right investment”, it could “drive Africa’s growing industry”.

“The potential of the green economy in Africa is huge: from waste management to climate-smart agriculture, green investment can fuel Africa’s recovery,” he continued.

Highlighting some “important initiatives” such as the African Alliance for the Circular Economy and the African Green Stimulus Programme, the president of the European Commission said she intends to discuss with African governments “how Europe can be Africa’s partner” in these projects.

In this sense, Von der Leyen addressed the joint work between the EU and the European Investment Bank that aims to “cover the risk of green investment in Africa, either by private investors or by governments of African countries.

She concluded her speech by stressing that “green investment is a common European and African interest” and it is now time “to discuss how to mobilise it further, especially ahead of COP26 [United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021] and the EU-Africa Summit”.

COP26 will be the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference and is scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, between 1 and 12 November 2021.

The date of the next summit between the African Union (AU) and the EU, meanwhile, since it was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, remains undecided.

Europe’s role in the transition to a green economy on the African continent is the theme of the EU-Africa Green Investment Forum, which today brings together European and African policymakers, private sector and civil society representatives.

The forum closes a month of dialogue between Europeans and Africans on sustainable development and green investment promoted by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU with the holding of 23 virtual conferences, called “Green Talks”, which started on 24 March from Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

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