6 green sectors currently recruiting in Africa
Posted at 01/09/2022
Although responsible for only 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, Africa is the continent that is hit the hardest by the negative effects of climate change. Despite this grim reality, African countries are not giving up on this challenge. On the contrary, many governments have now adopted ambitious green growth and climate resilience economic strategies aimed at ensuring their economic growth, while maintaining their current low carbon footprint. A trend confirmed by a recent report by the African Development Bank and the Global Green Growth Institute, which found evidence of growing political commitment to green growth in several countries. The increase in green economy-related activities has naturally been accompanied by an increased demand for positions promoting sustainable development in Africa. From natural resource management to construction, here is an overview of the sectors where green jobs are most in demand on the African continent.
Africa has enough solar, wind and hydroelectric energy sources to power and facilitate the economic development of all countries on the continent. While these resources remain under-exploited, the transition to renewable energy in Africa has made an impressive progress in recent years. According to forecasts by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), renewable energy could account for up to 67% of electricity generation in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030. Renewable energies will therefore offer interesting job opportunities in the years to come. Certain profiles, such as solar, thermal or photovoltaic engineers, capable of determining the best energy formula for each client and managing installation sites, will be particularly sought after. R&D engineers in the fields of biomass, wind, hydraulic, solar and geothermal energy, whose role is to improve existing techniques or invent new ones, will also be in great demand.
The building sector is responsible for about one-third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing the environmental impact of buildings is therefore an important issue in planning sustainable cities in Africa, especially since the continent's population is expected to double by 2050 and 70% of its growth will be absorbed by cities. Experts in the design of high-performance buildings with minimal energy and resource consumption will therefore play an increasingly important role in the future, whether for the design of new buildings or the renovation of existing ones. Among the professions involved in sustainable building development, we find architects and civil engineers, but also environmental biochemists and civil engineering technologists/technicians.
Globally, organic agriculture covered 57.8 million hectares in 2016, including in-conversion areas, or nearly 1.2 percent of cultivated agricultural land, but only 0.2 percent of cultivated land on the African continent. Yet, a study by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) shows that organic agriculture has the potential to significantly increase yields and incomes of small-scale farmers in Africa and enhance food security, while contributing to the sustainable development of the continent's countries. In addition, the market for organic products is growing steadily, increasing the opportunities for African farmers to export their products to Europe. Many jobs will be created to meet this demand. Sustainable agriculture and agricultural hydraulics advisors, agricultural engineers, and agrobiology and rural engineering technicians will play a key role in the transition to sustainable agriculture.
The link between access to water and economic development, as well as between improved hygiene and health conditions and the robustness of national economies, no longer needs to be demonstrated. Access to drinking water and wastewater treatment are therefore the foundations of sustainable development. Long neglected, the issue of wastewater sanitation has recently begun to emerge as a political priority in Africa. As a result, there is an increased demand for professionals in the sector, such as eco-entrepreneurship project managers (environmental professionals responsible for overseeing, coordinating and managing all projects related to water management), water management consultants (who conduct studies and diagnoses related to water resources), and sanitation and wastewater treatment plant technicians.
Preservation of natural resources and biodiversity
The Congo basin rainforest, which contains 10% of the world's biodiversity and covers more than 3.6 million square kilometers spread over six countries, is sometimes referred to as the world's second lung. Africa is also home to one of the most diverse biodiversities in the world, and is the continent where 8 of the 34 biodiversity hotspots on the planet are located. However, this richness is threatened by the erosion and degradation of natural habitats (linked mainly to the expansion of agricultural areas) and the direct overexploitation of fish and wildlife. However, a large part of human activities is compatible with the maintenance of an important biodiversity, provided that certain management and development rules are respected. This nature-friendly development requires experts to study biodiversity (botanists, biologists, ...), to preserve and conserve it (environmental advisors, forest rangers) and to exploit it (farmers, horticulturists and landscapers).
Rehabilitation of industrial and mining sites
Experts specializing in the rehabilitation of mining and industrial sites have been particularly in demand in recent years. These sites, once closed or abandoned, can have a negative impact on the environment, biodiversity and the health of local communities (with consequences such as erosion and the release of toxins and heavy metals). Rehabilitation not only avoids this environmental impact, but also converts these sites into profitable activities: the reclaimed space can be used for agriculture, solar panel farms, construction projects, and even recreational and tourism activities. This type of environmental services requires the interaction of several disciplines, such as toxic waste engineering (to manage contaminated materials and products) and environmental engineering and biology (for environmental rehabilitation, eco-regeneration and restoration), as well as materials engineering, building sciences and landscape architecture.