Green jobs in cities: challenges and opportunities in African and Asian intermediary cities

Scholz, Wolfgang / Michael Fink
Discussion Paper (7/2022)

Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Price: 6 €
Open access

Cities account for approximately 70 per cent of global energy consumption and about 75 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions due to the density of economic activities and infrastructure and their often path-dependent development patterns. Cities adopting a green transformation process can minimise their environmental impact and maximise opportunities to improve and support the natural environment. Topics to address are energy efficiency and reduction of non-renewable energy sources to reduce their carbon footprint; actively support waste reduction and management; establish green and resilient infrastructure; encourage nature-based solutions; enhance the efficiency of new buildings; encourage low-carbon transport; and improve water cycle management. Also, these fields will lead to a greener urban economy, create more green jobs – or respectively change jobs towards becoming green – and deliver improved quality of life outcomes for residents.
The aim of this discussion paper is to address the challenges, opportunities and fields of actions – respectively interventions – of these economic, but also social transformations on the job market on the level of cities. The regional focus is on African and Asian cities in developing countries. A special focus is on intermediary cities with between 1 to 5 million inhabitants since they constitute the fastest-growing urban areas today and more importantly, they have both the capacity and expertise to guide an economic transformation while still being, at the same time, not too large to be managed effectively, as outlined above.
The fields of action for cities in a transformation towards a green economy, thereby creating green jobs, can be clustered into:
• land use planning
• green buildings and construction
• sustainable mobility and urban transport
• green and blue urban infrastructure services with nature-based solutions (NBSs) as a cross-cutting issue
• renewable energy and energy efficiency
The employment effects of a transformation towards a green economy play an important role. The opportunities for cities in Africa and Asia to create green jobs under their own local mandates of decision-making in urban planning and within their own service providers, and/or to support the “greening” of the private sector, will obviously create more green jobs, and respectively shift current jobs into green jobs.

Further experts

Altenburg, Tilman

Economic Geography 

Asimeng, Emmanuel Theodore

Urban Planning, Sustainability 

Gutheil, Lena

Cultural Anthropology 

Inacio da Cunha, Marcelo

Economics, Geography 

Jauregui Fung, Franco

Architecture, Urban Agglomerations 

Löpelt, Sarah

International relations and Sustainability policy 

Zumegen, Lisa

Urban Transformation