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Tsegay, Bereket (2020) Green Economy for Climate Change Mitigation and Poverty Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Critical Analysis of Carbon Finance in Ethiopia. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The green economy as an ‘inevitable’ alternative development path has been dominating global environmental governance debates aiming at reconciling both economic growth and environmental sustainability. As an emerging concept, the arguments and counterarguments reflected in this research are built on current debates about neoliberal ideals – the financialisation of nature and market solutions to poverty reduction and sustainable development in the sub - Saharan Africa context. Indeed, the idea incorporates two conflicting logics, prioritising corporate profits and reducing poverty. This dissertation argues that the financialisation of nature and its instruments, including carbon finance in greening, have brought shortfalls in local communities’ political and socio - economic priorities, including food security, resilience and local economy strategies. Despite its relative success in generating additional green funds from the private sector, the carbon finance within the green economy is lagging far behind realising its core objectives of ensuring carbon - neutral development and poverty reduction. This research argues that the commercialisation of nature, and particularly carbon offsets in forestry, may positively contribute towards global climate change mitigation, but without bringing evident livelihood improvements among smallholder farmers. The research, based on analysis of the ecosystem services of the Humbo communities of Ethiopia, illustrates this line of argument and reveals the polarised and conflicting interests of local and global actors in the Clean Development Mechanism initiative. This research’s contribution, therefore, is to enrich debates on greening by considering further empirical studies on carbon finance within the broad national green strategy of Ethiopia and implication of its green fund, in an attempt to improve the livelihoods of the Humbo farmers. Therefore, highlighting these findings, which underlined the intervention’s emphasis on physical regeneration and not poverty reduction, the reorientation of development through the green economy, and in particular through the financialisation of nature, remains questionable.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Laura Hammond
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2024 10:28

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