AfCFTA acting Executive Secretary Antonio Pedro.

ADDIS ABABA — Carbon markets present a great opportunity for African countries to tap into the continent’s abundant natural resources, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Acting Executive Secretary Antonio Pedro has said.

Pedro made the statement ahead of Africa’s flagship economic gathering, the 2023 African Business Forum, an annual platform convened by the UNECA and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for dialogue between African business and political leaders and policymakers on realizing Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The sixth edition of the Africa Business Forum, which will be convened with the support of the African Union (AU) and Sustainable Energy for All, will be held under the theme “Making Carbon Markets Work for Africa” on Feb. 20 in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

“Carbon markets present a great opportunity for African countries to utilize their abundant natural resources to unlock economic value and accelerate sustainable industrialization and economic transformation and diversification,” a UNECA statement quoted Pedro as saying late Wednesday.

Pedro underscored the need to assure that Africa gets the right price for trading its carbon on the global credit markets.

He said the forum serves as an important platform for Africa to collaborate and trigger action on tapping the opportunities in carbon trading.

According to the statement, Africa has vast amounts of carbon stored in its ecosystems with the Congo forests, dubbed the world’s second lung, being able to absorb about 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year.

The Congo Basin holds roughly 8 percent of the world’s forest-based carbon.

Pedro emphasized that the continent is at the cusp of an opportunity to develop the voluntary carbon credit market that will boost climate action while enabling value creation and fostering sustainable livelihoods for communities.

“As Africa seeks to recover from the multi-crises of the COVID pandemic, energy crises and climate change, it is critical that we invest in sustainable value chains that will deliver jobs and resilience and inclusive economic growth.

The carbon market presents such an opportunity for African countries. We must seize it,” Pedro said. – Xinhua