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African business urged to invest in green economy

Jun 4, 2009 - Xinhua

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe - The African business community must invest in the green economy if it is to withstand advances in other parts of the world, an official from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) said here on Thursday.

Addressing the Business Forum of COMESA, the bloc's Secretary- General Sindiso Ngwenya said the African business community is doing "alarmingly little" about climate change.

"One looming challenge that unfortunately is already in our midst and is worsening each passing day, yet business is doing alarmingly little about, is climate change. We are in a global economy. The international companies are working towards a green economy with energy efficiency being a powerful driver of cost reduction. If we are not part of the green economy, we could be heading for another barrier, " said Ngwenya.

He said COMESA should turn around its economy in an environmentally sustainable and carbon friendly way.

"I believe the region can lay foundation for a low carbon economy that create jobs, fosters innovation and advances economic efficiency. The carbon market is anticipated to be the new trillion dollar economy of our century. Africa must have a stake."

Ngwenya said only a proactive private sector would help Africa to positively harness the tide of climate change.

The business forum provides an opportunity for interaction among the business community and dialogue between business and governments.

Chairman of the COMESA Business Council Said Omar Moussa said the business community had a pivotal role to play in the economic and social development of the region and Africa as a whole.

"We all know that there is great potential for economic and social growth in COMESA, and yet very often there is uncertainty on how to capture and exploit these potentials. Many efforts are made by the private and public sectors but often they do not produce the intended yields," Moussa said.

He encouraged the development of programs and strategies that enhance linkages and networks with other regions in the world.

The president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Mr Kumbirai Katsande, encouraged increased trade within the region.

"The more we trade amongst each other, the more we keep scarce resources on this continent. The more we buy and sell among ourselves the bigger the chances to invest amongst ourselves," the president said.