The potentials of carbon markets for infrastructure investment in sub-Saharan urban Africa

Author(s): Silver, Jonathan

Publication date: April 2015

Publication type: Journal article

Journal: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability


  • Examines the role of carbon financing across towns and cities in Africa.
  • Provides a series of criticisms about current arrangements.
  • Suggests alternative ways of financing low carbon urban infrastructures in Africa.

Even though sub-Saharan Africa has contributed little to historic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the continent is at the forefront of global climate change impacts and decarbonization imperatives. Such dynamics prompt the need to question where the financing for rapid construction and transformation of urban infrastructure systems that respond to emerging efficient, low carbon and long-standing developmental objectives should come from. This paper examines the potential role of carbon financing in the form of the Clean Development Mechanism and the growing critiques from across the continent and beyond in relation to this financing pathway. It argues that carbon market-based responses to mitigation generate a series of problems, flawed logics and failures in the capacity of towns and cities to address low carbon, urban futures and should be replaced through a shift to financing based on climate debt reparations.

The paper can be viewed here