Wednesday, 30 November 2022

In Technolgy

The Green Economy of Ghana

According to the United Nations, the Green Economy (GE) is the pathway to achieving sustainable development in contemporary times, especially in developing economies such as Ghana. Ghana has A Green Economy Initiative, that will transform its socioeconomic status in decades to come.

The GE concept entails a paradigm shift in contemporary development thinking, contrasting the dangers posed by the unsustainable approaches to development in the past decades.

A green economy is an economy that aims at reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, and that aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment. It is closely related with ecological economics, but has a more politically applied focus.

In 2012 it was estimated that the cost to Ghana of environmental degradation was equivalent to ten per cent of its GDP. By placing sustainability at the heart of its development planning, Ghana will be better positioned to address challenges of unemployment, sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. The concept of sustainable development was officially initiated in 1992 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

At that time African countries were preparing to join the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), also known as the 'Rio Earth Summit'.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of seventeen international targets relating to poverty and health that were agreed at the UN's Millennium Summit in 2000. One of these goals is "to promote sustainable development and provide eradicate extreme poverty". Most African countries agreed with this goal, even though most have yet to meet it. In 2012 it was estimated that the cost of environmental degradation in Ghana was equivalent to ten per cent of its GDP. 

Most green economy initiatives target natural resource use and agriculture, the two most dominant sectors that serves as sources of livelihood for a great majority of rural dwellers in South Saharan Africa (SSA). This enhances the lives of people in these areas and improve situations; hence, addressing poverty. Green economic development can help increase a country's gross domestic product (GDP), and reduce unemployment leading to an increase in economic growth. This can be achieved via the improvement in agricultural yield, reduction in energy imports, improvement in the efficient use of land and water, and natural resources as well as the reduction in the economic costs of pollution. Green economy entails adopting new approaches to work which requires the workforce to acquire new skills.

Green economy development makes good use of a country's natural assets sustainably. This could lead to new markets via specialization. An example is Namibia's bio-trade initiative. Green economic development has helped to create niche markets for products and services in areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy production, or sustainable natural resource management, such as low-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs, solar installers and agroforestry.

Green economy builds a country's resilience to environmental change or shocks leading to a better adaptation to climate change and natural disasters. This is an area of new product and market development; for instance, through insurance. Ghana has launched an agricultural insurance scheme to protect and provide some level of support to farmers, rural banks and money lenders who invest in drought-index crops.

Ghana's economic growth is largely dependent on a rich natural resource base (mining, timber, oil and gas, and agriculture). Even though the country's economic growth figures have improved over the years, this has come at the expense of increased greenhouse gas emissions. That is, greenhouse gas emission over the past few decades has more than doubled the levels recorded in the 1990s. 

Emissions in Ghana are driven by emissions from the AFOLU sector (53%), followed by the energy sector (25%) of which 39% comes from transport, other fuel combustion (29%), and electricity (19%). This has contributed massively to climate change effect on the country, thereby, affecting major economic sectors like agriculture and power due to erratic rainfall patterns and prolonged drought in some cases.

Recent and ongoing studies (Ghana Green Economy Scoping, Green Economy Assessment) on Ghana, were reviewed. The Ghana Green Economy Scoping (GESS) report for Ghana has provided pivotal basic information in this report that underscore the quest for GE transition in Ghana. It gave an overview of the benefits that will be accrued from all sectors in the economy if Ghana embraces green economy paradigm. The forthcoming Green Economy Assessment (GEA) report of Ghana prioritised Agriculture, Forestry and Energy sectors, taking into consideration the significant contributions of these sectors to GDP, economic welfare, low carbon development and global competitiveness. 

However, there has not been any national policy framework to conceptualize the Ghanaian GE pathway. The implementation and monitoring of GE initiatives will be more meaningful with the development of an overarching green economy policy framework that will take into account existing policies appropriate for GE interventions in diverse development sectors like agriculture, forestry, energy, infrastructure construction and industry.

In 2011 the Government of Ghana launched a Green Economy Strategy (GE Strategy) which serves as a major vehicle in fostering green growth. The strategy outlines strategies for Ghana's sustainable development that would lead to economic growth within a low greenhouse gas emission economy. The strategy will incorporate all key sectors in the economy and is expected to be fully operational by 2016. Therefore, it will be important for GE strategy to be implemented through actionable time bound initiatives with specific targets, measures and indicators.

Years after the implementation of the Green Economy Strategy of Ghana, there are many opportunities that have risen for local businesses in various industries. As a result, many businesses have begun to find ways to contribute to the green economy. One of the ways that agricultural businesses can contribute to the green economy is through promoting sustainable agriculture practices. 

Since most people in rural areas in Ghana make their living off of agriculture, it is important that they incorporate sustainable farming methods into their farming. Sustainable practices involve utilizing natural resources like sunlight, soil and water responsibly. Sustainable practices also involve having a healthy farming system, which means not using products like pesticides and fertilizers. The use of these chemicals can damage the environment because when they are released into the air and land they can cause irreversible harm to plants and animals. Another way that farms are contributing to the green economy is by using greenhouses.

One of the businesses that has gotten involved with the green economy is GreenDollarGh. This company sells environmentally friendly products and services in Ghana. Their main goal is to provide people with products that are not only safe for use around your home, but also beneficial for the environment. GreenDollarGh's core business is producing natural cleaning products made from locally sourced and renewable materials such as coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, and peppermint oil.

These are just examples of many Green related businesses that can be started in Ghana in order to support government’s noble initiative – The Green Economy of Ghana.

Sources: UN, Science Direct

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