Publication: Policy paper

Trade and Climate-Resilient Development in Africa: Towards a Global Green New Deal


By Faizel Ismail

Climate-related crises are becoming endemic across the African continent. Climate change has underlined the need for Africa to build greater resilience, transforming its economies towards higher value-added production, building its energy infrastructure, and boosting agriculture productivity while increasing Africa’s food and nutrition security.

This paper argues that Africa needs to mainstream climate change into its development strategy by advancing climate-resilient development through several pathways including: renewable energy and transformative green industrialization; agriculture, food, and nutrition security and climate change adaptation; strengthening its development finance institutions; engaging in multilateral fora such as the World Trade Organization (WTO); and asserting its agency in contributing to a compact on a global green new deal.

The publication is part of a series of policy papers commissioned by TESS with partners on Regional perspectives on trade, climate change, and sustainable development, which offers views from Africa, the Caribbean, South America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the broader category of least developed countries. Each paper has been prepared by experts and institutions from the region and explores regional perspectives and priorities on how international cooperation on trade and trade-related policies can support climate mitigation and adaptation efforts and foster pathways to climate-resilient sustainable development.

While many discussions are now taking place on trade and climate change in a range of international settings, including the WTO, most are dominated by concerns, policies, and proposals from more advanced economies. In an effort to spur a more inclusive dialogue, the series supports the bottom-up formulation of developing country priorities on trade, climate, and sustainable development, including how to advance them at the regional and multilateral levels.

This paper is co-published with the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance.

A presentation by Professor Ismail at a regional consultation on this topic hosted by TESS and the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance is available. A video of a working session on regional perspectives on trade and climate change co-hosted by TESS and regional partners at the 2022 WTO Public Forum is also available.

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