What Does A Just Transition Mean For African Economies?

It is no secret that Africa and her countries are in need of more sustainable ways to live. Climate change, mining of raw materials and resources, and unhygienic water access play a huge role in the development of this continent’s environment, people and economy. Adopting a just transition may benefit the economy, but what exactly does that look like for Africa? In this article, we will take a look at how just transitioning and adopting a low-carbon economy can be beneficial for African countries and their people. 

What Does A Just Transition Mean For Us? 

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) put it well when they said, “A Just Transition secures the future and livelihoods of workers and their communities in the transition to a low-carbon economy. It is based on social dialogue between workers and their unions, employers, and government, and consultation with communities and civil society. A plan for Just Transition provides and guarantees better and decent jobs, social protection, more training opportunities and greater job security for all workers affected by global warming and climate change policies.” 

However, this cannot be an easily achievable goal in the continent responsible for extracting and mining so many natural resources. Initially, just transition principles were introduced to promote new energy industries that secure workers’ rights and ensure that negative effects on communities and livelihoods were accounted for. Many times, underdeveloped areas in South Africa and other African countries suffer the most when it comes to high energy-consuming resources and materials, and due to lack of opportunities, these very communities become the ones to work in these risky conditions. 

The Challenge 

A just transition is possible, with many financial development institutions such as the DBSA investing in numerous projects that help save the environment while attempting to keep livelihoods sustained. Speaking of, there is an energy surrounding low-carbon resources replacing the human resources and minimising opportunities for many. However, there is merit in knowing that a just transition takes this into consideration and government, public and private sector companies are looking at ways in which a just transition can help those in need too. Another challenge is that, while there is a buzz and noise around just transitioning, there is a slow change happening, and in order to save the environment, climate and retain lives, this movement needs speeding up. Mismanagement of resources, corruption, inequality among different communities and the lack of information also play a role in the challenges that come with just transitioning. However, not all hope is lost. 

Green With Development 

By now, we know the damage that mining, extracting and supplying Africa’s natural resources and material harshly affects communities that are already deep in their own challenges. However, with initiatives such as our climate finance facility, sustainability and environmental development, going low-carbon and high-green will definitely be helpful. This transition will also help communities invest in entrepreneurial opportunities, gain access to clean and healthy essentials such as water and sanitation, and use a power supply that is not dependent on an already struggling power utility system. A just transition isn’t only for the benefit of the planet and plants that manufacture coal and oil, etc., but it is also about the people around these plants and what they stand to gain from it. 

How Can You Help? 

Well, a lot of development finance institutions, government and private sector companies offer people the opportunity to be a part of the transformation. You can either donate to funds, offer investments to projects that need it, or simply collaborate with another company that is already on the path to a just transition. While how we consume our energy also affects the environment and the communities needing help, there also must be active solutions that serve these people on a more realistic level. 

Final Words 

A just transition isn’t scary at all. In fact, it is a safe way to ensure we are taking care of the environment and ensuring that lives and livelihoods are sustained. Together we can help in the development of Africa and all her countries through just transitioning. We are already doing it with tech; why not go all the way? At DBSA, we are part of numerous projects that ensure that disadvantaged communities in South Africa and other neighbouring countries can gain access to healthier, safer, equal and more sustainable living conditions.