This newsletter gives you highlights of selected sustainability insights that were, perhaps, too long (you) didn’t read (TLDR) or there’s just too much out there to read. The highlights presented cover insights gleaned from a global, regional (African), and national (Kenyan) perspective. Happy reading!
This 3rd report of 2022 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change focuses on the scientific, technological, environmental, economic, and social aspects of mitigation. Key highlights from the report are:
- Globally, human-caused greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) continue to rise, with CO2 (fuel combustion, industrial processes, land use change, forestry) being the highest; followed by Methane (emitted from production and transportation of coal, natural gas, and oil. Also from livestock and agricultural practices, land use, and decay of organic waste in solid landfills).
- Regionally, North America, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Middle East have the highest production and consumption emissions per person. While Africa and Southern Asia have the least.
- In the last decade, unit costs of solar energy, wind energy, lithium-ion batteries have decreased; and their use has significantly increased – more so in developed countries, than in developing countries. This positive transition in developed countries has been driven by innovation policy packages.
- An assessment of country commitments to reduce GHG emissions (Nationally Determined Contributions – NDCs) made prior to November 2021, show that it is likely that global warming will exceed 1.50C and it will be harder after 2030 to limit warming below 20 Simply put, what countries are committing is not enough.
- All countries urgently need to: pursue renewable energy for electrification; accelerate sustainable construction and buildings; shift to more efficient, climate-smart transport modes e.g. EVs; transition to sustainable agriculture and forestry.
- But perhaps the biggest opportunity for us all lies in individual behavior change – every single individual needs to start taking action to reduce their own carbon footprints… that means taking a hard and honest look at one’s lifestyle patterns to reduce carbon use.
My two-cents: Lifestyle v/s Mother Earth, this is the silent and most vital war of our 21st Century.
Re-skilling Revolution – Tomorrow’s Skills, Learned Today
The job market and world of work are changing rapidly. We are all reflecting on the skills we have and the future, perhaps asking whether we have skills needed to succeed. Sometimes we are asking for ourselves, often times for our children, the next generation. According to the World Economic Forum, more than 1 billion people need to be reskilled by 2020 primarily due to technology. According to Accenture, trillions of dollars of GDP growth will be at risk by 2030 if we do not meet the skills demand for the new technology era.
As you continue to contemplate your opportunities, but perhaps more importantly, those of your next generation consider that: care (healthcare), engineering and cloud computing; sales, marketing and content; data & AI; green jobs; people and culture; and specialized project managers will be the demand professions of the future (WEF, 2020).
A McKinsey report highlights that foundational skills all citizens will need are: ability to add value beyond what can be automated; operate in a digital environment; adapt to new ways of working and occupations (McKinsey, WEF, 2021).
The WEF diagram below shows the top 10 work skills critical for tomorrow:
My two-cents: Traditional jobs, and jobs for life will probably cease to exist. When you know what’s coming, you know how to prepare. Time to re-skill. Anticipate the future. After all, the future is created today.
AFRICA: SDG/Sustainability Bonds Gaining Momentum in Africa
In late April 2022, NMB Bank in Tanzania launched Sub Saharan Africa’s first social impact gender based bond, Jasiri Bond. This social impact bond, listed on the Dar es Salaam stock exchange, is raising funds to address gender equality (SDG 10) and inequalities (SDG 10). At closing, the bond had +1600 applications valued at TZ Sh 74.3 billion, it initially sought to raise TZ Sh 25bn. women. Over 50% of subscribers were women. The bond will provide financing to women led businesses.
Across the continent, other countries have issued SDG/sustainability bonds e.g. Nigeria was the first African country to issue a sovereign green bond, Ghana issue a USD 1 billion sustainable bond to broaden education, and Seychelles launched the world’s first sovereign blue bond to support sustainable marine and fisheries projects raising USD 15M.
My two-cents: Innovative finance is essential for Africa in meeting its annual SDG financing gap, pegged at USD 200 billion (UNCTAD, 2020). We cannot solve problems with the same thinking that created them. The financial sector has a critical role in innovating financing to support Africans and Africa. By the way, if you have a pension or an investment, do you know if you are investing responsibly and/or investing in Africa?
The Story of Business in Africa
The Business in Africa Narrative Report, based on research by Africa No Filter, and AKAS, presents a stark picture of how international and regional media tell the story of business in Africa. It’s a comprehensive study: + 700M stories analyzed from 2017-2021; +6000 new sites across the 54 countries, and +180,000 new sites outside Africa.
The sad revelation is that both international and regional media negatively frame the impact of business in Africa. Some highlights from the report were:
- 70% of international media when talking about business in Africa refer to foreign countries – China, France, UK, Russia. Typically, only South Africa and Nigeria feature in international news about business in Africa.
- Africa has the most entrepreneurs than any other regional globally – yet this is not highlighted.
- African creativity and our creative industries are barely featured, including Nollywood, the world’s 2nd largest film industry. Instead media focus only on technology.
- Africa has the highest number of women business owners in the world (Mastercard Index) and the youngest population globally; yet women and youth are under-represented on average.
- Both international and regional media prefer to cover government policy and regulation in the context of business in Africa, rather than entrepreneurship, which is thriving. African countries have the highest Google searches globally for ‘business ideas’, ‘business plans’.
- The world’s largest free trade area, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, gets less than 1% coverage in both international and regional media.
More balanced story-telling is needed: An Africa-centric approach; covering more sectors beyond resources and technology; that represents the real African business landscape which is SMEs, women and youth; thriving; and celebrates the opportunities of the world’s largest continental free trade area.
My two-cents: Until the story of the hunt is told by the lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter – African proverb.
In April 2022, Kenya launched it’s 10-year National Digital Master Plan. The plan prioritises: 1) reducing the digital divide, 2) enabling ICT in public service, 3) accelerating e-commerce and enterprise.
The plan also focuses on new technologies namely: block chain, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and quantum computing – all of which are new technologies globally.
The plan aims to better equip and position Kenya for the 4th industrial revolution (tech-driven) that the world is moving towards.
My two-cents: Kenya is a country of contrasts, so the plan might seem a little far-fetched to some. It’s good to remember that Kenya is one of the best digitally connected countries in the region. However, ICT will be at the center of our lives and world in the coming years, and Kenya must have a place in that world. It is definitely time to re-skill!
Green Buildings Rising
Buildings and construction contribute 37% of total global C02 emissions (UNEP, 2022). Across Kenya, construction and building must continue, but this has to be more sustainable and climate-resilient. The recent disastrous Kwazulu Natal floods are a reminder why resilience is important – ZAR 17bn in damage, +6000 homeless and +7000 in shelters, nearly 500 died It will cost South Africa nearly ZAR 1 trillion to re-build.
Across Nairobi, green buildings are on the rise. Buildings that focus on reducing negative impacts in the design, construction; maximise energy and water efficiency, use of natural light and reduce waste. The Kenya Green Building Society, a member-based organization driving green buildings in Kenya, indicates that green buildings are on the rise, with 43 certified green buildings in Kenya in 2021, a 100% increase from 2020.
KGBS have a free app, Jenga Green Library, (available in your app store) that helps future home owners and developers design waste and pollution out of the buit environment; and select products and materials that perform well over time and don’t degrade (KGBS, 2022).
My two-cents: Kenya’s population is growing rapidly (to me, beyond comprehension). Consider whether the home you will have/have can actually provide you with the shelter and basic comfort you will need in 8 years, 15 years, 25 years, etc. – in the Kenya of that time. If you are buying (or even renting) a home, remember climate resilience is a reality you will always need to account for.