The G20's role in improving quality of life through sustainable energy and urban infrastructure in Africa

OUTPUT TYPE: Policy briefs
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2017
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.S.Mutanga, R.Quitzow, J.C.Steckel
KEYWORDS: AFRICA, ENERGY SUSTAINIBILITY, INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT, QUALITY OF LIFE, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, URBAN COMMUNITIES
DEPARTMENT: African Institute of South Africa (AISA)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9693

If you would like to obtain a copy of this Research Output, please contact Hanlie Baudin at researchoutputs@hsrc.ac.za.

Abstract

The challenge of socio-economic development and its resultant structural transformation to benefit a rapidly growing population simultaneously with managing the adverse impacts of climate change and avoiding carbon lock-in remains a reality to Africa. Focusing on critical tenets of infrastructure such as energy, this brief argues that Africa, and African cities in particular, need infrastructure that facilitates both basic needs and industrialisation, and avoids a lock-in of unsustainable, high-carbon technologies. Addressing climate-compatible sustainable development demands immediate access to clean energy and dictates a need for a long term strategic vision that propels growth and development of a sustainable industrial base which thrives in urban settings. Urbanisation, growth and development go together: no country has ever reached middle-income status without experiencing a significant population shift into cities. Sustainable urban planning should thus be a core part of strategic thinking in Africa. This entails that while industrialisation is a pre-requisite for Africa?' growth, clean energy should propel the development. Concomitantly, there is the need to meet the energy needs of the majority of people still living in rural areas. G20 countries can promote and support quality of life in Africa by: 1. aligning and cementing G20 Agenda with the African Agenda, SDGs and the Paris Agreement. 2. Mitigating economic risks of climate change through low carbon development pathways, 3. Creating an enabling and level playing field 4. Supporting smart and sustainable urban planning.