Opinion: ‘Africa’s COP’ made some big promises. Here’s how to deliver
“The real issue is over-population,” says Mohamed Tama, executive director of Sustainability Africa, a global sustainability think tank. “We are now finding that in Africa’s fastest growing economy, it is a growing population of 10 million people, with many people having no space of land they can call home. That’s unsustainable.”
That, in Tama’s estimation, would have been too big a step to take before the recent election was over. What was just a big step toward democracy became a disaster when election returns showed that a coalition led by a former soldier and a former president were going to win. Suddenly, everything the African Union had tried to bring about in the region became impossible.
Tama was referring to the conference of countries that convened in Morocco two weeks ago. It was called the Africa-EU Forum for Cooperation and Development, or AfCFD. The call for the conference began when the EU and African Union called for all countries to convene, with the aim of creating new economic growth, jobs and a more sustainable economy in Africa.
Tama was at the forefront of those calling to convene the conference. At the time, he was an executive director at Sustainability Africa, which focused on building a sustainable development agenda across Africa.
Tama and his organization supported the idea that African nations needed to work together and do more to help the continent have the sustainable growth and development that they needed. But, he says, they also knew that the idea of convening a meeting was not a new one.
“In the past, the African Union had tried to convene meetings where they would create some sort of consensus and then have these leaders come to a meeting and get to try to agree on a new strategy that might bring about some sort of sustainable development,” he said.
It was only a matter of time, Tama said, until the African Union’s attempt at convening a meeting failed. The outcome of the election was a disaster. “We can say that we were a little bit surprised,” he said, “because that just never occurred to us that an election was going to bring about such a major crisis in Africa.”
The failure of the summit, which began with more than