Green Recovery: an alternative for COVID-induced economic recession

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The Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC), a pioneering green business incubator, last week held an economy and ecology strategic dialogue themed: ‘The Green Recovery’ as a response to the COVID-induced economic downturn currently assailing the Ghanaian economy.

Agata E. Pawolowska, the World Bank Operations Manager, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone set the ball rolling by saying that the dialogue aims at highlighting the importance of the sustainability and resilience to climate change driven in this challenging times brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

She further added that the reason why it is important for Ghana to talk about climate change and sustainability in the middle of a health and economic crisis is that it has an immediate impact on the economy and the life of the citizenry.

Madam Pawolowska outlined three reasons for going green and how climate change is impacting the country’s development. She said rising temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns reduce agricultural productivity which employs most of the country’s workforce and contributes about 40% of the nation’s revenue.

Rising sea levels, she observed, are eroding coastal lands leading to a loss of land, settlements and forcing internal migration to urban areas putting pressure on housing and infrastructure. Floods and unpredictable rainfall patterns have a negative impact on access to clean water, food supply and on health, thereby risking increasing cases of cholera and malaria.

The World Bank official said a green recovery can make Ghana resilient to climate impacts. A green recovery, she stated, means the country’s infrastructure is built to withstand floods and support rural-urban migration.

It means farmers can stay on their lands by getting the technology needed to adapt to changing rainfall patterns and temperatures, and it also means the country’s industries are more competitive as they are incentivized to use resources efficiently.

She said the world bank’s global experience is that these features of the green economy cannot be realized without targeted public policy and partnerships. To this end, a 6.4 trillion-dollar fund is available for developing countries to access among other international climate funding architectures which are in place.

The Deputy Danish Ambassador, Brigit la Cour Madsen was a panelist who observed the importance of climate change issues globally which was a major determinant for the recently-held Danish elections. President of Ashesi University, Patrick Awuah said the reason why the university initially hosted the GCIC is because the university wants to contribute to climate change impacts.

He observed that the country’s national export crop, cocoa is threatened by climate change and why there is the need to research on how to support the sector amidst rising temperatures. Dalex Finance CEO, Ken Thompson noted that by 2050, the country’s population is projected to reach 50 million and that entails competition for land, jobs and other resources and called for a re-think as to how we embark on development.

Executive Director of GCIC, Ruka Sanusi noted that the clarion call these days is for more industrialization but without considering the trade-off to the environment and climate change. She advocated for a green approach to industrialization that is why her outfit is incubating green SMEs to power a more eco-friendlier development.

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