It was in Burkina Faso that a revolutionary man thought in 1895 that “it is not normal to have a 90% farming population which is not self sufficient.” Africa’s history of development represents a series of exceptional challenges that may have found at last a break. Today, Thomas Sankara’s vision of political and economic integrity is finding resonance in Africa’s developing Switch to green economy.
The Switch Africa Green forum 2-3 Oct 2018 brought together innovative solutions that accelerate Africa’s transition through sustainable production and consumption practices towards inclusive green circular economy. The Switch Africa program is part of other programs –SwitchMed, SwitchAsia– that support drivers to inclusive economic development. These programs fall under the Switch to Green EU flagship initiative that coordinates existing and future EU-funded international cooperation initiatives on green economy.
Some of the African success stories include plastic waste collection becoming waste management system, green tourism projects, organic agriculture and other agriculture, energy, and waste management related digital mobile application services which all poke towards growing interest in green circular economies, and sustainable future. Yet, What are the challenges to this future?
Since the end of the Lebanese Civil war in 1990 the prominent vision of rebuilding Beirut as a revived pre-war Paris of the Middle East dominated the governance imaginary in Lebanon. Beginning with the government authorized vision of the late prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and not ending with Merkel’s predominantly economic visit to Lebanon this June, which is supposed to have focused on refugee issues, and the surge of international development projects implemented and underway in Lebanon post the refugee crisis reforms, development seems to be the dominant trend.
While novel projects are taking place, the fact remains that development as socio-urban reforms remains over a century old tool in Lebanon initiated by Ottoman and french mandates that treated the city as a territory to intervene on through urban reform. While today voices such as that of the Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil contend that the international community is looking to settle refugees, hence implicitly question the ulterior motives behind such development projects and practices, other concerns regarding development ought to be considered beyond the demographic: Mainly, (1) the place of development as an urban reform tool in today’s cities and (2) whether governments could or not use development reforms as tools through which they derive their legitimacy and the citizen’s consent to their reforms. Read More