MENA countries take proactive steps to advance green investments: Tarek Tawfik

Countries in the MENA region have taken proactive steps to advance green investments, adopt climate-change strategies, and place sustainability and clean energy as their top priority, Council Chairperson and AmCham Egypt President Tarek Tawfik said.

He added that they believe that sustainability investments will accelerate business growth.

This came during the 11th Annual AmCham MENA Regional Council Conference hosted on Sunday by AmCham Egypt in its capacity as Chair, and Secretariat of the Council.

Tawfik indicated that Egypt assumed the COP27 Presidency up till November 2023, and with the United Arab Emirates building momentum to host COP28 in the coming months, the region is playing a leading role towards the net-zero transition. Many countries rapidly adopt solar and other sustainable energy solutions to diversify their energy mix. Jordan aims to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030, while the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia have net-zero emission targets by 2050 and 2060, respectively.

Moreover, Tawfik said that the energy crisis that started in 2021 is accelerating the energy transition, creating a huge interest in hydrogen. With high renewables potential – wind and solar – Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia are now prioritizing the development of green and blue hydrogen production not just for export to Europe and Asia, but also for internal consumption. Oman has positioned itself as one of the most attractive nations to produce green hydrogen competitively and at large-scale. Green hydrogen sustainably sourced through solar is set to turn the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) into the world’s second-largest electrolyser installer by 2040.

Qatar on the other hand is focusing on leveraging new technologies that allow for less power-intensive water desalination, and Kuwait intends to establish a completely carbon-free green city – the largest in the world and the first of its kind in the region.

“Egypt is also a signatory to the Global Methane Pledge, launched in November 2021, where participating countries have agreed to take voluntary actions to contribute to a collective effort to reduce global methane emissions, at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, which could eliminate over 0.2˚C warming by 2050. AmCham Egypt, together with the US Chamber of Commerce have taken on the mission of advocating for the reduction of methane emissions among the private sector,” said Tawfik.

For his part, Daniel Rubinstein, US Chargé d’Affaires in Cairo, said that the United States is keen to be the main supporter of its partners in the Middle East region to confront climate change and the transition towards clean energy, by supporting green investments in Egypt or other countries, through many American initiatives and companies specialized in this field.

He added that US President Biden is keen to achieve climate goals by 2030, while strongly supporting the global trend towards achieving “zero carbon” by 2050. He pointed out the importance of building on the decisions of the climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh COP27, especially funding directed to the Adaptation Fund, as well as the climate summit that will be held In the Emirates this year “cop28”.

Mahmoud Mohieldin, the Climate Champion for the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP27) and the United Nations Special Envoy for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, stressed the importance of providing the necessary financing to confront the phenomenon of climate change, and that the success of countries in facing the challenges of climate change depends on the availability of financing and technology and creating a climate to increase green investments.

He added there is no way for developing countries and emerging markets to implement climate action except by integrating it with other sustainable development goals within the framework of a comprehensive approach.

Mohieldin said that the implementation of climate goals requires working in parallel with combating poverty, providing job opportunities, and making water and energy sources available to all.

Achieving climate goals requires expanding the vision of developed countries concerning investing in climate and development work to include investment in development and climate projects in developing countries while dealing with serious issues such as the just transition and its impact on societies, as well as the issue of funding priorities in different countries.

Mohieldin explained that the call to strengthen the international effort to confront climate change would not be feasible without the participation of developed countries in financing and implementing local and regional climate projects in various countries, pointing out that Egypt, for example, launched initiatives and plans for climate and development action and its financing and implementation mechanisms, and then presented these initiatives. And the models before the world at the climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, and also showed its readiness to cooperate with international and regional organizations and the governments of different countries to transfer this experience to developing countries to benefit from it.

Mohieldin stated that the treatment of the climate crisis requires adequate and fair financing, the availability of technology and the exchange of knowledge, and leadership that pushes towards the actual implementation of climate action, explaining that leadership here is not limited to governments, but also includes the business sector, localities and other actors.

AmCham Egypt, as the current Chair of the AmCham MENA Council, is committed to working on positioning the MENA Council as the catalyst for our continued dialogue between our regional countries and the United States.

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