For decades, Africa has been in the midst of energy and water poverty. Reevaluating the energy options available, for sustained power and clean water access, such as increased investment in clean sustainable energy sources, has become a burning issue for many African nations that are poised to become global economic powerhouses of the future.
With global stakeholders promising net-zero emissions by 2050, and the transition to renewable energy holding considerable financial challenges for African countries, while the rest of the world accelerates its drive towards a net-zero future, concepts such as an African carbon market will be vital for ensuring a continent-wide approach to reducing emissions. According to a report by the United National Environmental Program, carbon markets typically refer to a diverse set of systems that are regulated in different jurisdictions for trading greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution rights. Notwithstanding the benefits for reducing GHG emissions globally, a carbon market could be particularly valuable for Africa, as it can serve as a vehicle to channel new investment into energy and water security, as well as clean energy developments.
Despite carbon markets apparent in over 50 jurisdictions all over the world, Africa has been slow to adopt the concept. This can be attributed to a number of challenges including lack of political will, ineffective regulatory oversight, and the complexity of the approach. Unless implemented effectively, and with the right government and private sector support, carbon markets could not only be ineffective in Africa, but actually provide a form of loophole for high-emitting industries.
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