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Building Back Green and More Resilient

Friday, October 2, 2020

11:00am - 12:10pm


More than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa. The population of sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double to 2.5 billion by 2050 and continue growing to 4.5 billion by 2100. 


With the entry into force of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in May 2019, the continent has become the world’s largest free trade area of a 1.3 billion-person market. Roughly 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity and about 625 million people rely on solid fuels for cooking with devastating health consequences. Although the continent currently contributes negligible greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the global total at 3.48%, from population and pre-COVID GDP trends, the coming energy, water and food demands are likely to drive GHG growth significantly.


The continent is uniquely endowed with vast potential in renewables estimated at over 10 terawatts, a collective potential that exceeds its total energy demand two-to-fivefold. Thus, the imperative for Africa to bypass fossil-based energy systems to leapfrog to clean energy systems of the future while pursuing climate-smart resilience-enhancing agricultural and livelihoods options as it reboots its economy for recovery from COVID-19 devastation, beyond managing GHG growth and building resilience, is the more cost-effective option to meet basic energy, water, and food needs with substantial health and other social welfare gains.

Objective of Session

By bringing together leading African policymakers, experts, and business leaders in these sectors, the session aims to explore the policy options that are key during this economic recovery post-COVID that will enable such leapfrogging – spanning areas such as continental energy, infrastructure, and investment policies and stimulus that allows all African countries to thrive in rebuilding a sustainable economy. In the case of development and deployment of some renewables that are land intensive, the session also aims to look at the trade-offs that will have to be negotiated carefully with demand for land and water needed for food production and livelihoods, with the aim to identify win-win options.


Recorded Event Video


Jacqueline Kariithi
Dr. Jacqueline N. Kariithi | Moderator

Dr. Jacqueline N. Kariithi, is a Post-doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Jacqueline is an interdisciplinary environmental scientist  passionate about conservation, tourism, and development issues. 


She holds a PhD in Environmental and Geographical Science from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her research interests focus on developing strategies for reconciling livelihood patterns in protected area landscapes. Her post-doctoral research at Princeton University has been driven by my interest in exploring the linkages between cultural heritage, biodiversity management, and their impact on community livelihoods via a landscape focus.

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