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A Green Industrialization Strategy for Africa

African countries cannot abandon “brown” industries – those that depend on oil, gas, and minerals – and create a green economy overnight. But they can use them as a tool to achieve a clean, sustainable economy.

LONDON – Africa has contributed less to the climate crisis than any other continent, but it will suffer some of the worst consequences. It already is: this year, Cyclone Idai killed more than 600 people in Mozambique, and droughts in eastern and southern Africa left more than 45 million people without enough food. How can Africa achieve economic growth and development, without contributing to further global warming?

Africa has an enormous incentive to industrialize: the world’s fastest-growing population and an urbanization rate that is nearly double the global average. To create jobs for the nearly 450 million young people expected to enter the job market over the next two decades, Africa must accelerate economic growth, or face a growing risk of severe social unrest.

But, historically, industrialization has required burning huge amounts of fossil fuels. Moreover, for most African countries, natural resources like hydrocarbons are vital sources of foreign exchange and budget revenue.

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