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  • 🚁 Heli view: How the climate sector can fulfil its jobs promise

🚁 Heli view: How the climate sector can fulfil its jobs promise

At least $30 billion of climate finance arrives on the continent per year. You'd think that will result in plenty of new jobs. But does it? 

  • The question was debated by insiders on LinkedIn this week, for example here

Why it matters: At the opening of last year's Africa Climate Summit, heads of state routinely praised their biggest asset: “Our young people”. 

  • What many said more quietly -- public support for turning forests into carbon sinks rather than development zones depends on creating green jobs for those young people in the process.  

So we asked experts: How many green jobs will there be? No comprehensive study to "size, situate and catalyse green livelihoods” exists, so well-connected insiders tell us. 

  • Apparently nobody has a detailed answer to perhaps the key question in Africa's green economy.

What we do know: Last year, UNEP published a top-down Africa report that suggested, "Restoring nature can unlock a business value of $10 trillion and create 395 million jobs by 2030."

  • But while the report mentions jobs, its focus is on GDP growth. 

  • There is no detailed breakdown of employment potential.  

Measuring by sector: We’ve collected published sources (and some unpublished ones) to aggregate jobs forecasts for the main sectors in the green economy (likely a first).

Carbon markets: Included here are nature-based solutions, conservation and biodiversity. 

  • The Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI) envisages 30 million jobs by 2030. 

Renewable energy: Including solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, mini grids and battery storage. 

  • Sustainable Energy for All, an NGO, forecasts up to 14m jobs by 2030.

Electric vehicles: No numbers for the whole continent, but forerider South Africa may see an employment boost of 650,000, according to a report last month. 

Green industrialisation: This includes minerals, hydrogen and construction.

  • Local smelting (instead of exporting) of bauxite could create 280,000 jobs, and 215,000 jobs from iron ore, according to Cap-A

  • Green hydrogen may create up to 4.2 million jobs by 2050, says an industry body.

Waste management: Including the circular economy, UNICEF targets 1 million jobs by 2030.

Reality check: These forecasts add up to about 50 million new jobs. Really? The total number of formal jobs in Africa is currently 70-80 million.

Significant challenges: The funding of ventures that could create 50m new jobs is hard enough. But even more remains to be done in preparation for such employment growth.

Lack of skills: Most employer surveys say improvements in education and training are needed as a stepping stone. 

  • Focusing on female talent is a potential shortcut. Women hold only 25% of leadership roles and 26% of middle and lower management roles in African renewables.

Lack of awareness: Too few in the labour force understand what the green economy is and why it offers opportunities, say search firms. 

  • To mitigate this, new communication channels and job boards are needed.

Barriers to entry: Some climate-related sectors appear insular or closed to outsiders and job-changers. 

Green Rising is often contacted by highly qualified professionals who say they cannot break through green jargon and narrow job qualifications.

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