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NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Kenya has the potential to generate about 15,000 gigawatts of geothermal power by 2030, placing it ahead of other Eastern Africa countries in the renewable energy race. To achieve this energy mile however, the country will have to reduce the lengthy process involved in establishing a geothermal plant, a new report says.According to the Nordic Green to Scale for Countries technical report released recently in Nairobi, it takes between five to seven years for any country in Eastern Africa to establish a geothermal plant.This is because none of the governments in the region have the equipment, technology and expertise to develop this source of power, and have to rely on imports, says the report by researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).“The venture is also capital-intensive, leaving only established private companies to pursue this development opportunity,” the report says.But the government has not actively involved the private sector in this sector, a situation that could explain the bureaucracy involved in geothermal development in the country, argues Mbeo Ogeya, a research fellow at SEI.Yet Kenya is being considered as a host for the Africa Geothermal Centre of Excellence by the UN Environment, says Ogeya.“The government needs to actively encourage private sector engagement by for instance zero rating the equipment and appliances for geothermal generation if the country is to achieve its full potential,” says Ogeya.Corruption is another setback that is delaying geothermal development in the country, according to local media reports.In 2016, top officials at the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) were hounded out of office and are facing corruption related cases.Auditor-General reports also say GDC failed to pay Ksh. 1.4 billion in corporate taxes in 2015, and was slapped with penalty of Ksh. 405.6 million.Yet GDC remains one of the best funded state companies, where Treasury allocates it Ksh. 7 billion from the national budget every year.“The research is right, the policy is correct, but the approach in implementing both policy and research is where we miss the point,” says Ogeya.Among the policy recommendations by the report is for the government to provide concessional loans and letters of guarantee to private developers in Kenya. This will reduce the risk of investment, hence encourage private sector actors to be involved, argues the report.It also challenges the government to introduce regulations supporting the assembling of geothermal equipment in the country “This will encourage growth of local industries and involvement of local actors along the geothermal value chain,” says the report.Kenya is leading in geothermal power generation in the region but the country has only exploited 0.62 gigawatts of the natural resource, the report says.
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - After losing a renewable energy patent to a powerful organization five years ago, George Otieno, a Kenyan technical innovator, is still searching for elusive justice. Even after hiring a lawyer several times to represent him in court, his case has never made it past the gates of justice. Otieno suspects his lawyer was bribed by the organization to drop the case, but he cannot do anything about it since he does not have the financial muscle to keep pursuingit, he says.“I have tried several times to use a lawyer to take this organization to court. But the lawyer always turns me down. I do not know what to do next,” says Otieno, who is also a member of the Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KREA). Like hundreds of innovators in Kenya, Otieno is a victim of poor policies that fail to inspire solutions meant to help the country adopt to the pressures of climate change. But if an October meeting of policy makers in Nairobi that was reviewing progress in the implementation of climate change policies in Africa is anything to go by, Otieno might just be getting there. “It is time to translate policy on climate change into action to be able to halt emissions and have an organized transition to a carbon neutral future in the shortest time possible,” James Murombedzi, the Officer in Charge of the Economic Commission for the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC), told delegates. Murombedzi’s reasoning echoes everyday efforts that are being tried by Kenyans like Otieno. To help such civilians, governments must work with all sectors of society despite their interests, because climate governance is complex, says Murombedzi. According to him, Africa is endowed with sufficient knowledge and technology to battle climate change. The only missing piece is strong policies that support these skills to be able to secure the continent’s preparedness against climate change, he says. This is why it is becoming difficult for many climate change innovators in countries like Kenya to complete their creations due to policies that protect the beneficiary, rather than the maker of a product, argues Otieno. “When the government fails to protect Kenyans like me against predatory business players, the spirit of innovation will die because I cannot invest all my time and energy on innovating something I get nothing from,” said Otieno. Yet, government arms like the Climate Change Directorate argue Kenyans like Otieno are protected by the Kenya Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan 2018-2020, which is informed by among others, the need for technology development, innovation and transfer. Besides, the 2018-2022 National Climate Change Action Plan seeks to set aside Ksh. 11 billion to support technology and innovation and how these skills can be transferred to average Kenyans, argues Charles Mutai at the Directorate. “The Plan also seeks to ensure that Kenya enhances the use of renewable energy. We are working with other national agencies to promote innovations in this area,” says Mutai.It is a prospect that raises hopes…
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (PAMACC News) - Sponsors of development projects in Africa, borrowers, lenders, and public and private sector investors meet in South Africa to accelerate the continent’s investment opportunities in sectors not limited to energy, infrastructure, transport and utilities, industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, water and sanitation and health and education.According to a statement from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), the forum targets a total pipeline of 230 projects worth over US$208 billion.According to the bank, 28 boardroom sessions will curate, screen and ensure the projects are bankable and reach financial close. A total of 61 deals estimated at more than US$40 billion will feature in Boardroom Sessions, while another US$28 billion worth of deals will be showcased to investors at a marketplace Gallery Walk.Victor Oladokun, director of communications for the bank that each year, Africa has a deficit in investment funding worth US$130-170 billion, “half of that represents an infrastructure financing gap which we are trying to reach.”The Forum also includes a co-guarantee platform that will develop and deploy innovative instruments to de-risk private sector investments at scale, thus boosting investor confidence.According to the AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the forum is a collective deal of the century for investment in and the development of Africa, focusing on advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital and accelerating the financial closure of deals.“I do not seek aid, I seek investment for Africa,” said Dr Akinwumi.To facilitate this, global financial institutions such as Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), Africa 50, Afreximbank, European Investment Bank (EIB), Trade and Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, have come together to form solid strategic alliances around the new venture.Ronnie Ntuli, the Executive Chairman for the Thelo Group described the forum as “a unique opportunity for Africans to partner with global capacity and the private sector. “It is an investor market…where all these partners converge to take advantage of tremendous opportunities,” he said.South African Deputy Director of the National Treasury Vuyelwa Vumendlini said that the investment forum provides a continental complement to the country’s recent investment forum which successfully attracted more than US$14 billion in investments.According to the AfDB, African businesses are rapidly growing in number and sophistication, presenting excellent investment opportunities with relatively high returns, but the challenge of positioning themselves for consideration in front of institutional investors and global corporate remains.The forum, which takes place between 7 and 9 November, 2018 is hosted by the Government of South Africa, the AfDB and several multi-lateral development partners.Discussions will focus on specific projects, sectors, investors, and themes. Others will have country or regional focus. Co-financing and collaborations between investors will also be a key focus area at this event. The inaugural Africa Investment Forum will feature a session on Championing Investments− an investment conversation with African Heads of State to highlight concrete and transformative actions for a new business landscape in Africa, including collective efforts to facilitate private investments.
KWALE, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Expansive lush sugarcane plantations stretching to 8000 hectares in Kenya’s semi arid Kwale County along the coastal line is a clear testimony that irrigated agriculture could be the magic bullet for a green revolution in Africa. Yields at the Kwale sugar plantation are higher than they would be were it rain-fed, and there is no need to worry about variations in seasonal rainfall, said Pamela Ogada, the general manager for the KISCOL Sugar Company, which owns the site. Irrigation has been "the magic bullet" for the global agricultural revolution, said Prof Nuhu Hatibu, the regional head of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which works to improve farming across the continent. Now AGRA has said it will work to mobilize billions of dollars in cash and kind through different partners to ensure that smallholder farmers - from individuals to cooperatives - can benefit from irrigation.This $9 billion, according to Hatibu was promised by the World Bank, and it will be through loans to governments. The World Bank has pledged to work with the African Development Bank and other organisations to provide the money to African governments to improve irrigation, said Steven Schonberger, the World Bank's global lead for water in agriculture. Financing for the effort is still being put together, Schonberger said, but "we are very optimistic about it because a lot of financing is already there."The money could begin to flow as soon as 2019, he said. The project will target water from multiple sources that include rivers, streams, stored rain water and groundwater. They are still in the planning stage, and so far they cannot tell how many African countries will express interest, and have not decided when the funding will be rolled out. AGRA will help countries develop national strategies and also capacity building. The starting point according to Hatibu will be mapping of the groundwater aquifers in various countries before deciding on which crops to be grown. He says that AGRA will have an microfinance facility known as ‘Irrigation Fund’ through which the private sector can access money for putting up the infrastructure, such as constructing dams, wells, piping and different forms of storage. Nearly all countries in Africa set up large projects post-independence to support irrigation and mechanisation programs after independence, Hatibu said. But they were not properly implemented, and all failed. "What happened in other countries - those failures pushed them to look for solutions. But in Africa, we got paralysed and declared that irrigation was bad," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Raj Shah, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, one of AGRA's key funders, said Africa's challenge was not over-irrigation but under-irrigation."Compared to any other agriculture-producing economy on the planet, Africa uses very little irrigation and very little fertiliser," he said. And, he added, the Green Revolution should be unique to Africa and should take water scarcity into account. "Especially now that it's been 40 years and we know how to avoid the negative…
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