Collaborating to Fight the Climate Crisis and Promote Clean Energy

Climate change is negatively impacting the world. Notably, developing countries like those in Africa and the Caribbean are the ones most strongly affected, even though their contribution to the climate crisis has been marginal.

As governments strive to tackle the climate crisis, increasing emphasis is placed on reducing carbon emissions. The most effective way to achieve that reduction is to cut fossil fuel consumption, and the key to doing so is switching to clean, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. The advantage of these energy sources is their ability to produce power without any of the negative environmental impacts that cause global warming.

The upcoming AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2022 (ACTIF2022) seeks to strengthen the relationship between the countries of Africa and the Caribbean. The fight against climate change and encouraging greater use of renewable energy are among the areas where the two regions can find common purpose.

Additionally, both regions face long-term impacts of climate change, such as more severe hurricanes and cyclones and rising sea levels. Also, changing rainfall patterns can result in prolonged droughts, which have grave implications for food security. Developing climate-smart agriculture will no doubt be explored during the panel discussion on “Improving Food Security, Agricultural Productivity and Expanding Agribusiness Opportunities” on Day Two of ACTIF2022.

A multiplicity of opportunities exist for Africa and the Caribbean to collaborate on clean energy solutions and propel trade and investment in the two regions to new heights. The Caribbean has made particularly significant strides within the renewable energy sphere. For instance, Barbados has been a leader in the solar water heater industry for decades. The Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement reports that the diversification of Barbados’ energy mix saved the country US$137 million between 1970 and 2002. Barbados’ expertise in this area could enable it to assist African countries seeking to phase out electric water heaters, such as Zimbabwe, which recently banned the installation of new electric heaters.

The International Energy Agency’s Africa Energy Outlook 2022, notes that although Africa is home to 60% of the best solar resources in the world, installed solar photovoltaic capacity is at a mere 1%. This points to strong opportunities for collaboration between the two regions to devise solutions for energy independence.

These topics and many more will be discussed as ACTIF2022 takes place on September 1–3 in Bridgetown, Barbados. ACTIF2022 is co-managed by Invest Barbados and Export Barbados and the African Export-Import Bank in collaboration with key agencies, including the African Union Commission, the AfCFTA Secretariat, the Africa Business Council, the CARICOM Secretariat, the National Cultural Foundation, the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and the Caribbean Export Development Agency.