C2GTalk: How the UN Economic Commission for Africa is using its climate goals to fuel prosperity and sustainable development for the continent, with Vera Songwe

December 20, 2021

This interview was recorded on October 19, 2021 and is available with translation into 中文Español, and Français.

Equity, justice, and transparency are needed to enable meaningful conversations around the the debate on solar radiation modification, because Africa has to be very careful about climate-altering technologies, especially when we do not understand their consequences, says Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) during a C2GTalk interview. Africa can only sustainably and justly have the conversation on carbon emissions if it sees that this road leads to a more prosperous life, better livelihoods, and that this road will help the continent meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Vera Songwe is the United Nations under-secretary-general and the ninth serving executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). As executive secretary focusing on "ideas for a prosperous Africa," her organizational reforms have brought to the fore critical issues of macroeconomic stability; development finance, growth and private sector; poverty and inequality; the digital transformation and data; and trade and competitiveness. She is acknowledged for her long-standing track record of providing policy advice on development and her wealth of experience in delivering development results for Africa. A strong advocate of the private sector, Songwe launched a business forum debate at ECA and created, for the first time, a private sector division with a number of significant initiatives.

Before joining the ECA, Songwe held a number of leading roles at the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC). Songwe serves as a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is also a member of the African Union institutional reform team under the direction of the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and an advisory board member of the African Leadership Network and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

For an edited transcript, please go to C2G's website.

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