An action plan from the World Bank proposes to integrate environmental management, including that of natural capital, into broader development agendas of projects in Africa.
The report, “Enhancing Competitiveness and Resilience in Africa,” suggests that sound environmental management is key to creating sustainable industries and growth. Six areas of action for this objective are outlined:
Manage renewable natural resources for growth, resilience and ecosystems sustainability.
Improve the livability of urban environments.
Make development climate-resilient and promote low-carbon growth.
Sustainably manage development of mining, oil and gas.
Enhance access to energy and infrastructure while mitigating environmental risks.
Aid responsible investment through transparent environmental regulations and institutions.
Projects that adhere to this new approach are already being supported by the World Bank. Examples include a road improvement plan with environmental management aspects developed by locals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and advocacies that support oversight skills of environmental protection agencies in Ethiopia.
Upcoming programs in Ghana and Tanzania mirror the Contonu Urban Environment Project in Benin, another initiative supported by the bank, with components such as improved drainage, collection and disposal of solid waste; improved sanitation and wastewater treatment; and flood and disaster risk preparedness.
Climate change adaptation and risk management, as key parts of Africa’s development agenda, are also highlighted in the report. This is fostered by the Strategic Program for Climate Resilience in Niger, focusing on sustainable land and water management, better weather services and social protection in rain-fed areas.
“Responsible management of the environment, including natural capital, offers enormous opportunities to advance human and economic development,” Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank sector manager for environment and natural resources management within the Africa region, said in a press release.
“The challenge now is to support governments, businesses, and people in the region to pursue development programs with an eye on sustainable resource management.”
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