WIDER Seminar Series

Opeyemi Akinyemi on green energy and green growth strategy for the sustainable development of sub-Saharan Africa

WIDER Seminar Series

Opeyemi Akinyemi will present at the WIDER Seminar Series on 17 April 2019. 

Abstract – Green energy and green growth strategy for the sustainable development of sub-Saharan Africa

Sustainable development is gaining ground as a paradigm shift from conventional economic growth and development. It identifies the fact that if environmental challenges confronting the world today (e.g. climate change) must be addressed, the way and manner economic progress is attained must be reviewed. Therefore, there has to be a new economic growth strategy that incorporates an economic, social and at the same time, environmental dimension; hence, leading to sustainable development. This is why the three pillars of sustainable development are economic prosperity, social equity and environmental sustainability. It is defined as a development that supports growth for the current generation without depleting the resources necessary for the growth of the future generation. The transition to green growth strategy is one of the identified approach for the sustainable development of many economies. It provides numerous benefits to economies, including Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) such as economic prosperity, income redistribution, employment generation, social equity, adequate management of natural resources, environmental sustainability, among others. It emphasises economic growth that minimises environmental degradation and social risks, while demanding for the structural transformation of the sectors of the economy. Thus, it is an important component of sustainable development. It is also a viable tool for the achievement of many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially relating to the environment. The energy sector is one of the identified sectors that can accelerate this process through the provision of sustainable energy.

The challenge of the energy and sustainable development nexus had centered on the appropriate approach to switch to a low-carbon economic model without further slowing down economic growth. If sustainable development must be achieved globally, sustainable energy is a significant component. The way and manner energy is produced, distributed, transmitted and consumed will have to change, to give rise to green and sustainable energy. This is energy from natural sources that are renewable in nature (e.g. solar, wind, hydro). It has limited impact on the environment and minimises dependence on fossil fuel which is damaging to the environment. In addition to reducing carbon footprints, it increases the percentage of those who have access to sustainable forms of energy. The current percentage of population with access to energy remains low in many SSA countries, particularly in the rural areas. Therefore, green energy will be a good approach to achieving the SDG Goal 7 that specifically emphasises ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Efforts have increased in the past few years towards increasing the share of green (renewable) energy in total energy mix; however, progress is still low. Renewable energy and emerging technology that enables low emission from energy production and use have shown promising prospects and these opportunities must be adequately maximised. Commitments are not enough, urgent action is required.

The objective of the study is to appraise the extent to which green energy through the adoption of renewable energy, will drive the transition to green growth in SSA countries that will accelerate their attainment of sustainable development. It seeks to establish the vital channels through which green energy can support green growth in Africa in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030. It also develops a “green model” that uses panel data to estimate the relationship between the indicator of green energy and measure of green growth. It identifies the opportunities available and the attendant challenges confronting many SSA economies in the transition. Specifically, it recognises the fact that green growth transition is not a priority for many economies but show that it is necessary to attain the achievement of the SDGs, particularly the goal 7.

About the Speaker

Dr Opeyemi Akinyemi is a Lecturer and Researcher in the Department of Economics and Development Studies at Covenant University, Nigeria. She obtained her Bachelor, Masters and doctoral degrees from Covenant University in 2009, 2012 and 2017 respectively. She is astute in research which has resulted in publications in high impact and world class Journals locally and internationally and participated in seminars, conferences and workshops around the world. She has the ability to analyse issues not only within her region but also at a global dimension. Her research interests are in the area of Energy Economics (specifically energy policy and environmental quality) and Development Economics. She has successfully executed funded research projects with grants from reputable research institutions with her research team members. She was a recipient of the 2019 Africa Guest Researcher Scholarship by the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden.

In addition, she is a member of the International Association for Energy Economics, Nigeria Association for Energy Economics and Nigeria Institute of Management. She is a good team player, hardworking, intelligent and self-driven who demonstrates maturity, innovativeness and responsibility on any assignment assigned. She is endowed with a pleasant personality and capability to work effectively in a multi-cultural and dynamic environment. She is currently a reviewer for the Environmental Science and Pollution Research Journal which is indexed in Scopus. As a lecturer, her teaching interest are majorly in courses such as theories of growth and development, applied econometrics, principles and theories of microeconomics and macroeconomics, quantitative analysis and petroleum economics.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.

Seminars will be live streamed on Facebook and recordings and presentations will be available after the event here.

For more information email richardson@wider.unu.edu

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