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TICAD8: AFRI CONVERSE Webinar held Friday on Going Green with Business in Era of Climate Change in Africa

The AFRI CONVERSE webinar was held on Friday on the theme “Going Green with Business in the Era of Climate Change in Africa.”

This virtual meeting takes place within the context of sharing experience from Tunisia, prior to holding the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8), which will be hosted by Tunisia August 27 and 28, 2022.

Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Tunisia Shuhei Ueno, taking part in this webinar, pointed out the approaches through which the Agency aspires to tackle climate change in Africa. He stressed the need to implement the Paris agreement, so as to strengthen the greenhouse inventory, introduce and use climate finance, and to increase the number of countries supported in formulating and implementing climate change strategic plans.

Ueno articulated two more approaches to address climate change in Africa, namely mitigation and adaptation. The first provides for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially in energy and transportation, and through growing and restoring forests for absorbing Co2. Adaptation, on the other hand, provides for building a climate change resilient society through disaster risk management.

For his part, Director of the National Climate Change Coordination Unit and National Focal point for the United Nations’ framework for Climate Chance Convention (UNFCCC) Mohamed Zmerli addressed the challenges for a greener economy. He pointed to the impacts of climate change, and indicated the opportunities for a green economy and sustainable development through a paradigm shift.

Average temperatures would grow 2 to 2.3C° in the horizon of 2050 in Tunisia, and 4.1 to 5.2C° in the horizon of 2100 if the country does not act against these challenges, Zmerli indicated.

The impacts of climate change in Tunisia threaten water resources, food security, health, and employment. They would worsen social problems like migration, corruption and conflicts, Zmerli added.

He stressed the need to combat climate change through building climate resilience, and this by water conservation, new energy systems, local food, education, and urban forests.

Speaking at the webinar, Japanese Ambassador to Tunisia Shinsuke Shimizu highlighted the importance of the private sector in Tunisia and innovations by start-ups, particularly with regard to greenhouse businesses. He voiced hope that TICAD8 will be held at the best conditions, especially at a context marked with the coronavirus spread. “This edition of the TICAD will be special because it is in Tunisia; it is close to the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. Tunisia can be a platform connecting Japan to Africa,” he said.

The ambassador asserted willingness to support Tunisia in combating climate change and water scarcity, citing projects that are underway for water desalination.

He mentioned the monopoly of energy production by state enterprises against private energy producers; “we are negotiating this with the International Monetary Fund to support the private sector.” In the same context, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Tunisia Eugena Song highlighted Tunisia’s dependence to imported fossil energy, which leads to prices going up, and therefore worsening the trade balance. She stressed the imperative of introducing renewable energy to meet the Nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Requirements to meet the NDC in Tunisia are $12 billion, she added, saying Tunisia’s achievement of its goal would generate profitability and employment. This would be a win for a country like Tunisia, particularly as 35% of its population are youth.

The UNDP official also indicated that removing subsidies from fossil energy and directing them to investing in renewable energy would be an important step towards energy transition.

The webinar also saw the participation of member of the executive bureau of the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fisheries (UTAP) Hamadi Boubakri and Professor of Economics at the University Côte d’Azur Adel Ben Youssef.