Did you know that Rwanda is one of the first countries in the world to ban single-use plastics? In 2008, Rwanda became one of the first countries to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags, and in 2019, it went even further, banning all single-use plastics, including straws, cups, and cutlery. This bold move has made Rwanda a leader in sustainable waste management and has inspired other African nations to follow suit.
Did you also know that Africa is home to the largest single-site solar power plant in the world? Located in Morocco, the Noor-Ouarzazate Solar Complex covers over 3,000 hectares and produces enough clean energy to power over one million homes. This impressive feat has helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve access to electricity in the region.
As climate change continues to loom as one of the greatest threats to our planet, the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions has become increasingly urgent.
And while many developed countries have been leading the charge towards a greener future, we must also recognize the strides that Africa has made in mitigating emissions.
As a continent that is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, Some African nations have demonstrated an admirable commitment to adopting sustainable development practices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
From innovative initiatives to transformative efforts, Africa has contributed significantly to the global fight against climate change.
Renewable energy: African countries have been making progress in transitioning to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. For example, in 2020, the African Development Bank launched the Desert to Power Initiative, which aims to provide 10 GW of solar energy across the Sahel region. Additionally, South Africa has been investing in wind and solar energy projects, while Kenya has been developing geothermal power.
Reforestation: Deforestation is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and African countries have been working to combat this by promoting reforestation and afforestation. For example, Ethiopia set a world record in 2019 by planting 350 million trees in a single day as part of a national reforestation campaign.
Sustainable agriculture: Agriculture is a significant contributor to emissions, but African countries have been promoting sustainable agriculture practices such as agroforestry and conservation agriculture. For example, the African Union launched the Great Green Wall initiative, which aims to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030 through sustainable agriculture practices. This approach has already led to the successful completion of 18% of the Great Green Wall, the restoration of over 20 million hectares of land, the creation of 350,000 jobs, the training of 10 million people in sustainable land and water management practices, and $90 million generated by project activities.
Energy efficiency: African countries have also been promoting energy efficiency measures, such as improving building insulation and promoting the use of energy-efficient appliances. For example, Morocco has implemented a program to provide energy-efficient light bulbs to low-income households.
Carbon pricing: Some African countries have implemented carbon pricing policies, which put a price on greenhouse gas emissions and provide an economic incentive for reducing emissions. For example, South Africa implemented a carbon tax in 2019, which charges companies a tax based on their emissions.
Among these, sub-Saharan African countries have partnered with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in order to find solutions to Africas growing urban and industrial pollution problems which impact people’s lives. Their main goals are to curb poor indoor and outdoor air quality, improve water quality and eliminate exposure to toxic chemicals.
Along the way we will look at how EPA has implemented these strategies to the sub-Saharan regions and partners.