Fostering Green, Made-In-Africa Innovations

Frank Rijsberman Director-General, Global Green Growth Institute
(GGGI) speaking in Kigali, at a week-long Africa Green Growth Forum
2018 to discuss how to foster green growth. Courtesy: Emmanuel

By Emmanuel Hitimana
KIGALI, Nov 30 2018 (IPS)

Over 1000 policy makers, experts, investors and financial
specialists from across Africa are gathered this week in Kigali, at
a week-long Africa Green Growth
Forum 2018
to discuss how to foster green, made-in-Africa
innovations to meet the needs of the continent. 

There is no doubt that green growth is a number one priority for
governments but many are mistaken if they believe green growth is
more costly, Frank Rijsberman Director-General, Global Green Growth
Institute (GGGI) told delegates at the high level policy dialogue

Rwanda’s new Bugesera airport, will be the first-ever green
airport in Africa, and the government’s biggest-ever project. It
will have rain water harvesting and cut water use by 50 percent,
and will have enough solar panels to make it zero carbon emission
facility said Rijsberman.

“Did the airport become expensive by adopting these changes?
No. It became cheaper by five million US dollars,” he said.

The over 800 million dollar project is being funded through a
public private partnership, and is one of many green projects the
GGGI is working on with the government of Rwanda. GGGI is also
supporting the implementation of the government’s plan for green
development of six secondary cities as well as eco-friendly tourism
by introducing electric motorbikes or e-motorbikes.

The e-motorbikes will be cheaper than petrol-powered ones
demonstrating that green products do not have to be expensive said
Josh Whale, the Chief Executive Officer of Ampersand, a company
that is building electric vehicles and charging stations in East
Africa. Supported by GGGI, it has introduced e-motorbikes into
Rwanda and has plans for other electric vehicles.

“Assembling all the e-motorcycles in Rwanda will certainly
result in several thousand new jobs and will also green existing
jobs. So motorcycle and taxis mechanics will become green jobs,”
said Whale.

The Forum is showcasing a number of other green-friendly
initiatives that promote  environmentally sustainable and socially
inclusive economic growth.

There are many opportunities for green entrepreneurship and
private investment in transport, infrastructure and agriculture in
Africa, said Rijsberman.

“Involving the private sector more, helping to drive
innovation, helping to drive entrepreneurship, creating green jobs
has to be a growing part of government green growth strategies,”
he says.

During different panels and sessions there were comments about a
large gap in youth interests in the environment and green
technology and the difficulty accessing funding for innovations
that could bring affordable green technologies to Africa.

Academic training is one of the best investments to be made
right now said Stephen Rodriques, Rwanda’s Country Director at
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “We have to
start preparing the young generation for green jobs,” Rodriques
told delegates. “Many of the industries we have now are based on
what we call the brown economy, where people are doing things and
in ways that are destroying the environment.”

Rodriques also called for investment in innovative green
projects and for stakeholders to improve their understanding and
use of finance as a tool for climate resilience.

A common issue is quality projects in need of financing while
financial institutions say they have the money for quality projects
but can’t find them said Pablo Vieira, Global Director at
NDC Partnership. This is
a coalition of countries and institutions dedicated to
strengthening collaboration among nations to help implement
countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to reduce
carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement.

“We work in 36 countries right now with governments saying
they have many projects ready for financing but find it hard to get
finance,” said Vieira. Meanwhile financial institutions are
looking to finance quality projects.

Acknowledging that governments afford to support all projects,
Vieira calls for a new system to help entrepreneurs build quality
projects. He also appealed to financial institutions to change
their “business as usual” approach for the way environmental
funds are delivered.

The forum started on Monday 26 November and is set to close on
Friday November 30.

The post
Fostering Green, Made-In-Africa Innovations
appeared first on
Inter Press Service.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Fostering Green, Made-In-Africa Innovations