n Africa Insight - Assessing the compliance of African countries with environmental sustainability indicators for sustainable development

Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This article assesses the performance of African countries on selected environmental sustainability indicators and on the basis of these results, predicts their chances of achieving sustainable development by 2015. The study is motivated by the misleading assumption that rapid economic growth will automatically translate to efficiency in resource allocation and ultimately to sustainable development. The investigation uses the amount of land area covered by forest, area protected for biodiversity conservation, energy use intensity, carbon dioxide emissions, consumption of ozone-depleting substances, and proportion of population using solid fuels in each country as indicators to evaluate each country's performance. Results show that there are more achievers in North Africa than sub-Saharan Africa and in general, there is a marked distinction in performance between these sub-regions. North Africa meets most of the environmental sustainability standards and therefore appears to be on course to achieve sustainable development by the target date. Sub-Saharan Africa performs poorly in comparison and the paper predicts that if these scenarios continue unabated this sub-region will not achieve sustainable development by the 2015 target date.

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