African Economic Conference in Mauritius Calls for Climate-Smart Finance

The 17th edition of the African Economic Conference (#AEC) opened at the InterContinental Resort Hotel in Mauritius on 9 December 2022. The conference brings together policy makers, scholars, private sector and civil society to discuss “Climate-Smart Development for Africa” during three days from 9 to 11 December 2022.

Mauritian PM Mr Pravind Jugnauth, Mauritian Finance Minister Mr Renganaden Padayachy, VP and Acting Chief Economist of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Mr Kevin Urama Regional Director for Africa at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa and the Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Mrs Hanan Morsy addressed some 400 delegates during the inaugural session in the morning of Friday 9 December 2022.

During his keynote address, Mauritius PM Jugnauth highlighted that since Mauritius is a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) and is also an Africa state, therefore it experiences the negative impact of #ClimateChange in a most acute manner. In support of the Climate Agenda, Mauritius has spent some USD 150 million to promote the green transition since the Paris Agreement in 2015. Every year, Mauritius dedicates at least 2% of its GDP for sustainable projects and programs.

Out of the top ten most vulnerable countries to Climate Change, nine are in Africa. Africa loses USD 7-15 billion annually due to Climate Change and 132 million people may slide into extreme poverty due to climatic disruptions by 2030 by some conservative estimate. In order to achieve net zero, the rules of the Carbon Market will require some tweaking to render it more effective.

The Mauritian government has decided to make the fight against Climate Change as one of its top priorities. As a matter of fact, Mauritius recently strengthened its commitment to decarbonization by setting a target of having at least 60% of renewables in the energy mix by 2030. In addition, Mauritius intends to develop an Environmental, Social and Good Governance (#ESG) framework to position the country as a sustainable International Financial Centre (#IFC).

“Mauritius is well positioned to become a Sustainable International Financial Centre.”

Mauritius PM Pravind Jugnauth

Mauritius Finance Minister Padayachy dwelled upon the Green Transformation Package which was unveiled in the latest National Budget 2022-2023. Every year, the Government of Mauritius allocates a substantial amount of its national budget to push forward the #GreenTransition agenda. One of the latest measures is the promotion of adoption of Electric Vehicles (EV) with a government grant to reduce emissions and make green transport more affordable.

For his part, VP AfDB Urama called for a collaborative approach to synergize Africa’s response to climate change. He further elaborated that it is time for Africa to focus on energy and food security while staying green.

UNDP Africa Regional Director Eziakonwa stressed that the pathway towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (#SDG) must be Climate-Smart. In fact, a green solution is a smart solution and protecting the planet is not an option but an urgent priority.

In turn, UNECA Deputy Executive Secretary Morsy expressed the wish for the AEC to build upon the #COP27 where the agreement to set up of a “Loss and Damage Fund“ was a major breakthrough. UNECA also expressed the need to leverage the continent abundant clean energy resources to enhance local value addition (#LVA) of Africa minerals.

Africa is entitled to a fair share of the climate funds in order to effectively combat climate change and is willing to collaborate with all parties to achieve concrete and measurable results. The Sustainable Financing Platform in the #MauritiusIFC will certainly contribute and play its role to accelerate the green transition.