As the country strives to transform its economy, generate jobs and boost Kenyans’ income, the green economy model is increasingly becoming an irresistible venture for both Government and experts. The model, built on the principle of squeezing more economic value from existing resources through enhanced efficiency, sustainable use and minimising destructive impacts on the environment, promises rapid economic leap forward that can be sustained to fight poverty.
Currently, non-green economic models, which focus on economic growth at the expense of sustainability are seen as wasteful and destructive of natural resources, making prosperity a short-term solution.
A recent special report on the prospects of a green economy in Kenya published by the United Nations Environmental Programme ( Unep), reveals that if the country were to switch into the green economy approach, it would produce major economic benefits - equivalent to an estimated Sh3.8 trillion by 2030. Under the projection, the green economy would also result in greater food security, a cleaner environment and higher productivity of natural resources. Environment Secretary in the Ministry of Environment Dr Alice Kaudia says following the Unep assessment report, the Government is developing a Green Economy strategy and Action plans to guide the quick transitioning to the green economy. “Apart from the huge economic, social and environmental benefits that the country would accrue from the green economy, the transition is critical to help the country cope with the increasing impacts of climate change that threatens to wreck our economy,” she explains Kaudia says key sectors targeted for greening urgently include energy, agriculture, transport and manufacturing to enhance their productivity and increase their resilience significantly. Jackson Kiplagat of the World Wide Fund for Nature, an environmental conservation and socio-economic sustainability Non-governmental organisation involved in the efforts to green the economy, asserts that Kenya has no option but to purse the green economy path. He says the country’s economy is vulnerable to harmful effects of climate change such as extreme weather events like droughts and floods, which are increasingly affecting food security and agricultural production. He says tourism, hydro-power-generation, water availability sectors are also beginning to be hit hard by climate change impacts. “We can longer afford to just focus on pursuing economic growth at the expense of environmental sustainability. We have an opportunity to pursue a cleaner path to development,” he adds.