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Earth Finds

Kenya Moves To Solve LPG Cylinder Crisis

The government has approved new LPG regulations to restore safety to the LPG market by closing down opportunities for illegal refilling, illegal rebranding, and counterfeiting of gas cylinders.

The changes come as part of a government drive to position LPG as Kenya's primary cooking fuel to end the health and environmental problems caused by cooking with firewood and charcoal. 

Unveiling the new regulations today, Mr Pavel Oimeke Director General of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said it will no longer be mandatory for LPG retailers to swap any brand of cylinder.

"The mandatory interchange of LPG cylinders has seen brands lose track of 90 per cent of the cylinders they had invested in, stalling investment in further cylinders, and seeing legal checks set aside as nameless refillers resold cylinders, but could not be made accountable for safety breaches," said Mr Oimeke.

LPG brands will now be responsible for guaranteeing the safety of every cylinder. The brands, which will only swap their cylinders for new ones through their own branded retail points, must also now add safety instructions onto each cylinder, including guides on what to do if consumers smell a gas leak.

"Elsewhere in the world, LPG dominates in rural areas as a clean and safe fuel. Moving to regulations that will see the end of illegal cylinder refilling in Kenya will open the way for a projected seven-fold increase in LPG usage," said Mr Olagoke Aluko Chairman of the Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA).

The PIEA, which represents the country's oil and gas industry, is now working with government and regulators to achieve a widespread switchover to LPG, at a time when more than 70 per cent of Kenyans are still using firewood and charcoal for cooking. 

"The pollution that dirty cooking fuels are creating in the home is killing tens of thousands of Kenyans a year," said Mr Aluko. "Estimates suggest some 21,650 Kenyans are dying every year from air pollution, and 40 per cent of childhood deaths are being caused by respiratory diseases triggered by indoor cooking pollution."

The country's dependency on firewood and charcoal, which has remained larger than for other countries in Africa as a result of the recent disorder in the Kenyan LPG market, has also eroded the country's forests, with illegal logging damaging its main water catchment forests, and the nation now suffering a 16m m3 shortfall in its wood supply each year.

"LPG is actually a cheaper cooking fuel than firewood, charcoal or kerosene on a meal-by-meal sum and gets families back to clean homes and good health, saving our forests and our water supply too," said Mr Aluko.

Government, industry and regulators are therefore now working to make LPG the primary cooking fuel in Kenya. In addition to the new regulations, government plans to increase LPG imports and storage at Mombasa, while the industry is increasing its investments in LPG cylinders six-fold.

"To this end, the EPRA will no longer tolerate any gas cylinder that has not been properly checked between refills and is not fully labelled for safety and traceability," said Mr Oimeke.

Here Are Africa’s Leaders In Green Energy

Africa is set to drive global population growth over the next few decades but access to electricity in Africa is a challenge: According to the International Energy Agency, 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity.

Access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy — as laid out in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Seven — will be crucial when to it comes to meeting other Sustainable Development Goals and tackling climate change.

Here, CNBC’s “Sustainable Energy” takes a look at the continent’s leaders in renewable energy capacity according to statistics from the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA).

Capacity, according to IRENA, refers to “the maximum net generating capacity of power plants and other installations that use renewable energy sources to produce electricity.” The capacity figures relate to power plants and other installations that utilize renewables to generate electricity.

(10) Sudan: 2,136 MW

Hydropower is the main source of renewable electricity generation in Sudan, producing 8,051 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

(9) Nigeria: 2,143 MW

Despite being an oil rich member of OPEC, Nigeria – the most populous country in Africa – is home to “an abundance of various renewable energy resources” including solar, wind and small hydro power, according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Work needs to be done to exploit these resources, however. To this end, the government wants renewables to make up 30% of the country’s electricity mix by 2030.

(8) Mozambique: 2,235 MW

Construction work on Mozambique’s first large-scale solar facility, a 40 MW plant near the city of Mocuba, started in 2018, according to solar firm Scatec Solar.

It’s estimated that, once complete, the plant will generate 79 GWh of electricity per year and help to power 175,000 homes.

(7) Zambia: 2,446 MW

Zambia is heavily reliant on hydropower, which generated 11,025 GWh in 2016, according to the IEA.

Change is taking place, though. In April 2019, the green energy subsidiary of Italian energy giant Enel started operations at a 34-megawatt (MW) solar plant, its first in the country.

Once fully operational, the power plant is set to produce 70 GWh every year, according to Enel.

(6) Democratic Republic of the Congo: 2,750 MW

A vast country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s biggest renewable source is hydropower, which generated 9,099 GWh in 2016, according to the IEA.

The United States Agency for International Development has said that the country could potentially “install up to 100,000 MW of hydropower capacity.”

(5) Angola: 2,763 MW

Like Nigeria, Angola is a member of OPEC and a major oil producer.

The country is also a significant force in hydropower, with generation from that source hitting 4.95 terawatt hours in 2016, according to the International Hydropower Association.

(4) Morocco: 3,263 MW

Morocco boasts the planet’s biggest concentrating solar park which according to the IEA illustrates its “ambition and technological capability.”

The country also has several wind farms, including the 300 MW Tarfaya facility, which is located on its southwest coast and can power 1.5 million homes, according to Siemens.

(3) Ethiopia: 4,351 MW

With over 4,000 MW of capacity, Ethiopia places third when it comes to renewable energy capacity in Africa, according to IRENA.

The country is part of the World Bank’s Scaling Solar program, which has the goal of making “privately funded grid-connected solar projects operational within two years and at competitive tariffs.”

(2) Egypt: 4,813 MW

Egypt has potential when it comes to renewables. In October 2018, IRENA said that Egypt could supply 53% of its electricity mix using renewables by 2030.

In April 2019, Norwegian developer Scatec Solar announced that the first part of its 400 MW Benban solar facility had been connected to the grid and commenced commercial operations.

Once finished, the Benban project will have 1.5 GW of capacity. Scatec is the largest contributor to the project.

(1) South Africa 6,065 MW

South Africa is the continent’s leader when it comes to renewable energy capacity, according to IRENA’s figures.

It is home to a number of solar power plants, including the 96 MW Jasper plant, a photovoltaic facility with 325,360 panels that can supply power to 80,000 homes.

When it comes to wind power, onshore installations in South Africa amounted to 2,085 MW in 2018, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

The South African Wind Energy Association states that wind power accounts for 52% of the country’s renewable energy power supply, while the average size of a South African wind power facility is 93.5 MW.

Africa's Debt Is Still Under Control Says African Development Bank

The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) remains strong with growing operating revenues and allocable income generated since 2010 reaching $2.5 billion, the Bank Group’s Treasurer, Hassatou Diop N'sele, stated on Thursday.

In 2018, the Bank earned $214 million in allocable income, 48% of which has been reinvested in the institution to reinforce reserves and its business growth capacity. The bullish numbers were revealed during the Bank’s Financial presentation Thursday, a highlight of the 2019 Annual Meetings of the Bank currently underway in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

The panel was led by N’sele and Simon Mizrahi, Director of Service Delivery, Performance Management and Results at the Bank.

During the presentation attended by delegates, Governors, Executive Directors and Bank staff, N’Sele noted that the Bank could chart a new path on account of its ability to raise funds on the capital markets. “The amount of infrastructure financing covered by private sector could double if African countries harness the full potential of their capital markets.”

According to N'sele, a number of African countries could save as much $1 billion on a 20-year loan, if they borrow from the African Development Bank, instead of from the Eurobond market, due to preferable lending rates.

Delegates were informed of the Bank’s successful issuance of the first-ever NOK social bond sold in Norway and sealed in 2018.

Despite challenges, Africa’s debt is still under control

On debt sustainability, Africa’s debt has increased in recent years “but not to unsustainable levels,” Mizrahi indicated but he pleaded for caution. “We need to continue to generate financing and spur growth without increasing debt.”

Sharing insights on Africa’s path forward, Mizrahi underscored the need to harness the continent’s incredible potential in renewable energy.

Africa is the most vulnerable continent and suffers the most from climate change but “with the right vision, investments and political commitments, Africa can lead a global energy revolution and leapfrog to renewable technologies. 

This is why the Bank is putting its money where its mouth is and investing more than any other development Bank in helping the continent transition towards more resilient and sustainable economies,” he concluded.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfTCA) ushering a new era in intra-African trade

According to Mizrahi, AfCTA paves the way to the world’s largest free trade area with an integrated market of 1.3 billion consumers.

“This is important because Africa will struggle to be competitive at the global scale, if it continues to operate as 54 fragmented economies. The continent needs to be more integrated, it needs larger economic spaces so that Africa can attract more investors, create more and better jobs, boost internal trade and create continent-wide value chains that are globally competitive.”

The panel moderated by the Victor Oladokun, the Bank's Director of Communication, noted that AfCFTA is expected to boost cross-border infrastructure, drive competitiveness and make the continent a smaller place by integrating markets.

In her concluding remarks, N’sele expressed the Bank’s appreciation for Canada’s unwavering support to the institution with the recently announced $1.1 billion callable capital. “This will allow to continue to meet our financial ratio” before a decision is made on the 7th General Capital Increase,” she said.

We are, the continent’s only triple-A rated institution. Our rating means that our bonds are the absolute safest in the world. It gives confidence to investors across the globe that their investment in African Development Bank bonds is secured.”

The discussions included gender issues, especially the Bank’s flagship Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program, which seeks to mobilize $3 billion to close the financing gender gap for women entrepreneurs.

Kabira Nominated In World Luxury Hotel Awards

The year 2019 is going right for Kabira Country Club on the social and business side of life. You can say they are having a stellar year. This week, the Bukoto based hotel, which is part of the Speke Group of Hotels, an instalment of the Ruparelia Group, announced it has earned a nomination in the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2019 edition.

“We are head over heels! We officially take this opportunity to announce that we have been nominated for the World Luxury Hotel Awards,” Kabira Country Club announced on their social media pages.

The World Luxury Hotel Awards is a recognized global organization providing luxury hotels with recognition for their world class facilities and service excellence provided to guests.

Established in 2006, World Luxury Awards is the pinnacle of achievement in the luxury hotel industry offering international recognition as voted by guests, travelers and industry players alike.

Over 300,000 international travelers vote each other during a four weeks period to select the winners. Luxury properties of all shapes participate across 100 plus categories.

Luxury hotels have the opportunity to participate in the world luxury Hotels Awards by entering hotel categories that showcase their unique selling points and destinations.

The organisers of the award said a Voting Kit will be supplied to the hotels prior to the voting season. This will include the branded voting button, headers, voting support messages and suggested marketing strategies and promotional campaigns to implement.

A guest will be required to enter their email address and select the hotel and category you wish to vote in. Votes are also cast online in the voting season, taking place between 1st and 31st July 2019.

Interim voting results will be released Monday 12th August 2019 , but official winners announced and revealed at the Gala Awards Ceremony at The Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, Finland –  Saturday 12th October 2019.

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