forum europe africa inclusion zero carbon zero poverty

How to develop or revive the economies of Europe and Africa, while responding to the necessary involvement of various sectors of society, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and eradicating poverty? This is the main question posed at the high-level round table chaired by Abdelmalek Alaoui, CEO and Founder by Cheetah Groupon this topic: “Towards a three-zero economy on the European and African continents: zero alienation, zero carbon, zero poverty”.

When Natural Resources Contribute to Evolution

The government figure on this panel, Nicolas Casady, Minister of Finance of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has painted a picture of an Africa rich in natural resources, and whose population, paradoxically, has little use of these riches. and someone is somehow trying to solve the equation of the economy with three zeros. “The chance we have in the DRC is that we are not a major producer of fossil fuels. We are rather producers of ores that are very useful for the energy transition: the DRC is the first producer of cobalt, one of the first of lithium … From this point of view, we envision the future in terms of minerals that produce electric batteries. We also own 50-60% of the continent’s tropical forests. The task not only for us, but for all mankind is to protect these forests. We have a lot to do in connection with the main energy problems at the moment.” explained the Congolese minister. ” But unfortunately, he admits we are also a country that symbolizes the difficulty of inclusion. However, we are gradually rising to the challenge. Last year, for example, we started using a free school for everyone and were able to educate 4 million homeless children.”

Africa can learn from the European experience

Like the DRC, which intends to position itself in the global energy transition from an industrial point of view, most African countries are increasingly tackling environmental issues, far behind the European Union, which is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world (nearly 9%). and a longtime victim of climate change – has made significant strides in the transition to energy. “The topic of climate change in Africa has not been given the same degree of appropriation because there were other, more pressing priorities: food and energy security, poverty eradication, and political instability.”, explained Lawrence Toubiana, Director General of the European Climate Fund, stressing that with population growth and economic development, greenhouse gas emissions in Africa (albeit the lowest in the world) are expected to increase. She believes that Africa is right to accelerate its energy transition, and in this a more advanced Europe will be an important partner.

Young people (also) move forward in a different way

Voice of youth during these discussions, Amina Zakhnuf, co-founder “I’m Committed to Africa” advocated for Generation Y to be able to contribute to building a three-zero economy on both sides of the Mediterranean. “You have to make sure that young people who want to do something, present alternatives to the way we do it today, also take place and take up space,” she said, emphasizing that governments also have a role to play in educating young people, especially in the face of environmental challenges, inclusion and shared prosperity.

CSR, the cornerstone of companies in the economic building with 3 zeros

At the level of European companies investing in Africa, the commitment to developing economies at different scales is relatively high among global groups. Orange, for example, will invest several million euros in the construction of a solar power plant in Mali. “We are already within the group aiming for zero carbon by 2040. In this way, we can really do our part to achieve zero carbon emissions on the continent.”Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange, said. “It takes a lot of willpower, consistency and agreement with decisions. For us, our goals in Africa are development, inclusion and digitalization »he added, highlighting the various initiatives of the French group, in particular to democratize access to digital technologies for the youngest.

Laurent Goutard, director of the African, Mediterranean and overseas region of the Société Générale, describes a changing Africa where it is almost impossible to do business today without trying to contribute to the formation of a triple zero economy. “We are going through a very strong revolution and we are completely changing paradigms on the African continent. The competitive environment has already completely changed with the emergence of new African banks. We continue to believe in Africa. CSR is changing the way things are done and integrating social and environmental aspects is becoming a raison d’être in managing our operations.”he explained, adding that Société Générale is a founding member of Net-Zero and the Banking Alliance for Carbon Neutrality in 2050. In this context, the bank, among others, financed the first solar power plant in Madagascar and issued the first Green Bond of the State of Benin, to name a few.