Zimbabwe needs circular economy, climate-resilient agric for sustainable growth – UN

Staff Writer

Zimbabwe must prioritise a circular economy and climate-smart agriculture to ensure sustainable economic development, UN Resident Coordinator Edward Kallon has said.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Annual Congress, Kallon highlighted the importance of resource efficiency and waste reduction.

He noted that a circular economy framework emphasises resource efficiency and waste minimisation.

“In a circular economy, products and materials are reused, repaired, remanufactured, and recycled, extending their lifecycle, and reducing waste. For Zimbabwe, this approach can transform waste management practices, turning waste streams from industries and households into resources for new economic activities. Zimbabwe has begun this but requires expansion beyond Harare to the other towns and provinces,” Kallon said.

He added that agriculture remains the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy, employing a significant portion of the population.

Kallon highlighted that climate-smart agriculture involves practices that increase productivity, resilience, and reduce emissions.

He said techniques such as conservation agriculture, agroforestry, and precision farming could enhance soil health, optimise water usage, and increase yields, ensuring food security and generating income.

He said companies can conduct sustainability audits and implement eco-friendly practices from raw material sourcing to end-product delivery.

Kallon said unlocking new frontiers for sustainable industrialisation and climate-smart business growth in Zimbabwe is both a challenge and an opportunity.

By embracing green technologies, fostering innovation, and building resilient communities, he said Zimbabwe can pave the way for a prosperous and sustainable future.

He said adopting green technologies is crucial for reducing the carbon footprint of industrial activities.

“Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydro power should be prioritised to mitigate the reliance on fossil fuels. For instance, Zimbabwe has significant solar energy potential, with about 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. Harnessing this potential can transform the energy landscape, reducing costs and emissions while providing reliable power for industrial activities,” Kallon said.

He highlighted the need for a robust policy framework for guiding sustainable industrialisation.

Kallon noted that the government has put in place regulations that incentivize clean energy usage, waste management, and pollution control.

“Now it is high time with all the partners support implementation is intensified and scaled up. Policies such as tax rebates for companies investing in green technologies, stringent emission standards, and penalties for non-compliance can drive the industrial and business sector towards sustainability,” he said.

He said investing in research and development is pivotal for discovering new methods and technologies that enhance industrial efficiency while reducing environmental impact.

On challenges, he highlighted that access to capital for investing in green technologies and sustainable practices can be limited.

To address this, Kallon said creating green financing options such as low-interest loans, grants, debt for climate swaps, green and blue bonds, risk insurance, national environmental and climate change investment funds and public-private partnerships is critical.

He said Zimbabwe’s infrastructural deficiencies, particularly in energy and transportation, hinder sustainable industrial growth.

“Developing modern infrastructure requires substantial investment. Strategies including leveraging public-private partnerships and foreign direct investment focused on infrastructure development is critical. Emphasising sustainable designs, such as rural electrification through renewable energy, can also mitigate climate impacts,” he said.

Kallon added that building a skilled workforce capable of implementing and maintaining sustainable practices is essential.

The country’s economy faces growing challenges due to climate change, with droughts and erratic weather patterns impacting agricultural production.

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