Every month we share with our readers a curated reading list on inclusive development. This month, we are zooming in on the just transition and the future of work – a topic INCLUDE is currently working on through our joint research programme with Palladium, Green jobs and the Future of Work.
Agriculture is expected to remain the largest job-supplier in Africa in the coming decades. But many jobs within the sector will be transformed to respond to climate change. Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change. Recent research by the AERC into the role of Africa in the green transition advises new agricultural practices and policies that support and create a sustainable green revolution. This ‘green transition’ is anticipated to create new ‘green jobs’, and is therefore widely heralded as a solution to the missing jobs crisis in Africa. Indeed, ACET’s research into Development Finance Institutions for more decent jobs in Africa indicates that Africa’s future jobs will be green and digital, thereby supporting the modernisation of the agriculture sector. However, a green transformation of the economy will also displace existing jobs. The green transformation must therefore also be a ‘just transition’.
The German Development Institute published a discussion paper on the challenges and opportunities of green jobs in African and Asian cities, including good practice cases. From the many recommendations included in this paper, one is cross-cutting: the need for green transformation policies that reflect local problems, potentials, and stakeholders. The green transformation can create more green jobs and respectively shift current jobs into green jobs. But misalignment with the local context, such as disregarding the informal sector or a mismatch between skill sets and jobs created, could ruin chances to benefit from the green transformation. There is a risk that newly created green jobs might not compensate for job losses. The African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook 2022 emphasises that a just transition should mitigate the risks of locking Africa out of the green technology manufacturing value chain and should aim to increase Africa’s share of green jobs.