The Mayor of Accra and Board Member of Global Covenant of Mayor's (GCoM), Mohammed Adjei Sowah , has challenged financial institutions and private sector actors to take advantage of the immense economic opportunities in the Circular economy.
This according to him would go a long way to help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Mayor Sowah who is also a Vice-Chair of C40 Cities, was speaking at a Forum on Financing Sustainable African Cities in Johannesburg, South Africa, hosted by C40 Cities’ Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative (FSCI), and supported by the Citi Foundation.
The Forum aims to highlight the huge investment opportunity in Africa, paving the way for a more sustainable future and provide a platform to showcase the potential of Africa’s city-level projects and opportunities available for investment to fight climate change.
"Climate change issues are development issues, we must ensure projects and developments are sustainable. We must also find solutions to financing projects that achieve climate change innovations...There is a big economic incentive in the circular economy and financial institutions and private sector actors must rise to the challenge," he said.
"We are not short of ideas, we are short of capital, our biggest issue right now is raising finance for sustainable development," he added.
The Mayor who was recently named, among the “World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Change Policy 2019” noted that in the city of Accra authorities are partnering the private sector to work towards achieving 50% reduction in waste to landfill.
He also emphasised the importance of cities globally paying greater attention to the issue of climate change.
He posited that environmental issues were at the heart of developmental issues currently. “Sustainable issues are development issues.”
“Today, climate change is not an abstract issue but a development issue in Africa and the world.”
He said his outfit was aggressively pursuing citizen sensitization to appreciate the linkages between local actions and impacts on environment.
"May, June, July are rainy seasons in Accra, with possibility of flooding. It’s important for us to explain to residents how our local actions impact on our environment," he said.
The Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba who also spoke at the forum emphasized the need for developing cities to focus on sustainability, given that they face the brunt of climate change, despite not being the biggest contributors
He noted that, developing cities faced the challenge of having to expand economic growth, provide water, electricity and other resources, and keep dissent at bay when this does not happen as quickly as residents want.
Owing to this, the issues of climate change and sustainability were not as big a priority for developing cities as they should be, he said.
“It is integral to put sustainability at the forefront and centre of cities’ daily work”, he averred.
Other speakers at the forum include His Excellency Ambassador Bene LofongoM’poko, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in South Africa, Jerrod Moodley of Rand Merchant Bank and Val Smith, Managing Director and Global Head, Corporate Sustainability, Citi.