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HOW CAN AFRICA BENEFIT FROM CARBON MARKETS?

“Particularly in Africa, we see enormous opportunities for carbon finance,” says Javier Manzanares, co-CEO, Green Climate DAO: ClimateCoin and the former deputy executive director of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), adding, “I see it within nature-based solutions, and I also see frameworks and protocols for biodiversity that are coming up very strongly. These are called biodiversity credits, protocols on habitat banks, with a purpose for conservation and restoration of nature. Africa presents probably the greatest growth opportunity within carbon markets.”

In order for this to happen, Manzanares states, African countries need to be seen “taking ownership in generating an ecosystem that will support the growth within countries. For this, I’m referring to countries with a certain scale in Africa that should move to ensure that there are domestic standards in the country and domestic players that can provide services of validation and verification.

“These domestic players can provide registries: whether it’s a national registry by governmental authority or within the private sector itself that can provide those types of tools. Tools that, all in all, not only present the basis for growth, but also create job opportunities and the capacity that is needed in many of the countries.”

Taking ownership
The former GCF deputy executive director says his message to African countries is to take ownership of the process: “It is essential that African countries believe in themselves to build the right voluntary carbon markets and mandatory carbon markets for that purpose, but that they bring their ecosystem so that the carbon market can complete the stages in a project cycle and that these stages are handled by nationals to the furthest extent possible.”

He adds: “It is essential that those countries that are in a position to strengthen their own capacities in the carbon markets provide avenues for domestic growth and new job opportunities. I would like to encourage the countries to do so, and if they have not done it, to start putting measures in place so that the carbon market ecosystem is as strong as possible in each one of the countries.” [See the full interview with Javier click here.]

Reality of securing carbon finance
Jonathan First
, MD of Delphos International agrees that carbon finance represents a real source of funding for the future, “which can make projects happen. He adds that while he thinks carbon finance is here to stay, the challenge is that it’s in its infant stages.

He explains: “I think there’s a far greater expectation at this stage than the reality of securing carbon finance. So, I think we need to manage expectations, I think we need to understand the markets a lot better. But I also think, very importantly, we have to contextualise markets within a national or regional context. I think that’s the big challenge.” [See full interview here.]

Poor people’s livelihoods
Aradhna Pandarum
, principal researcher at the Energy Centre of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) says the concern with many is the “significant gap in the price of green or low-carbon products compared to the high-carbon-intensive products due to many reasons: the technology is new, we’re still trying to understand what technology to actually implement and given the commercialisation of these specific technologies that are going to be selected, it’s probably very nascent.”

She continues: “One of the ways that we can try to close the gap is to implement carbon markets and related mechanisms. This is definitely driven by the need for the net zero vision or the net zero targets in terms of our greenhouse gas emissions. However, it must not come at the cost of poor people’s livelihoods. Unfortunately, should this be implemented the way it’s currently envisaged, it will lead to the price of living increasing and may even result in worsened socio-economic issues, especially in developing countries.”

She recommends that the impacts should be properly analysed and understood in terms of what it would do to the economy of especially the poor people and their livelihoods and how we can actually create an environment where we don’t really affect their lives and their livelihoods.” According to Pandarum, innovative solutions are needed that may not necessarily increase the price of food and such living costs. [See full interview here.]

 

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