Electrifying The Deserts Of Africa

By Akani Chauke

During last week's Unlocking Solar Capital Africa conference, Solarplaza unveiled 'The Solar Future: Deserts of Africa', a new platform aimed at exploring the opportunities that accompany solar PV development in Africa's deserts. This new two-day event will be hosted in Dakar, Senegal on 13-14 March 2019.

"At Solarplaza, we want to facilitate the solar energy sector by expanding into new markets early on, markets that capture both opportunities and challenges. We believe that, by launching our African desert platform, we keep true to our mission of positively impacting the world by accelerating the sustainable energy transition," said Lydia van Os, Africa Lead and Project Manager at Solarplaza.

With a dispersed, but rapidly growing population, desert countries will need to tap into a combination of solar solutions, such as utility-scale power plants, mini-grids and off-grid applications, to create impact in regions that are disproportionately affected by climate change.

Fully realizing the true solar potential of the deserts of Africa will require a vast effort, one that will need to align visionary governments, courageous development finance institutions, pioneering investors and experienced developers. Solarplaza seeks to support these efforts by creating the right platforms, like The Solar Future: Deserts of Africa, for these parties to meet, share ideas and form effective partnerships.

As a preparation for this event, Solarplaza sought to take stock of the past, current and future initiatives related to the development of solar capacity in the African deserts, in order to provide context to the discussion we'll aim to incite during the event.

All of these desert solar initiatives as well as solar energy developments on a country level can be found in the brand new 'Desert Solar' report (Africa.TheSolarFuture.com/desert-solar-white-paper ).

For the purposes of this report, namely determining the scope and scale of renewable energy ambitions in the region, the report included both photovoltaic and concentrated solar power initiatives and projects.

African Financial Alliance on Climate Change Unveils Guiding Principles

The African Financial Alliance on Climate Change (AFAC) unveiled its guiding principles at the recently concluded Africa Investment Forum. Launched in June 2018, AFAC aims to increase financial sector participation in climate action, in order to raise the share of investments that support low-carbon and climate-resilient development in Africa.

Its Steering Committee, which provides overall direction and guidance, is constituted to ensure representation by key institutions within the African financial sector, namely central banks, insurance companies, sovereign wealth and pension funds, stock exchanges and commercial and development banks.

AFAC will mobilize private capital ?ow towards continent wide low-carbon and climate-resilient development, addressing four key areas:  knowledge sharing, instruments, disclosures, and risks and opportunities that are fit for the African ecosystem. Additionally, AFAC will help to position and align African financial actors as key stakeholders in the evolving global climate finance architecture, by proposing solutions and attracting capital for Africa's climate actions that support the Paris Agreement.

Commenting on AFAC, Bank's President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said, "Africa's financial actors need to work together creatively to mobilize global financial resources at scale to support local innovations that drive climate-resilient and low-carbon development on the continent. Having been short-changed by climate change, Africa must not be short-changed by climate finance."

In his address, Lord Nicholas Stern, the Steering Committee's Chair, said, "Failure to reach the Paris targets would be deeply damaging for the world as a whole, but more so for Africa. This Alliance is an important initiative for engaging Africa's financial sector to drive climate action. AFAC will form a vital foundation for climate-related governance, strategy, and risk-reward metrics towards low carbon and climate-resilient investments."

Also present at the unveiling, Rwanda Finance Minister Hon. Uzziel Ndagijimana lauded AFAC as instrumental in defining pathways that would help direct financial ?ows towards Africa's Nationally Declared Contributions and SDGs.

The Africa Investment Forum is an initiative of the African Development Bank organized in partnership with Africa Export-Import Bank, African Finance Corporation, Africa50, Development Bank of Southern Africa, European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Trade and Development Bank.

The innovative marketplace is dedicated to advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital, and accelerating the financial closure of deals.

AfDB Program To Boost Climate Change Financing

The African Development Bank on Tuesday approved the Africa Disaster Risks Financing (ADRiFi) Programme, the institution's first climate risk management programme to boost resilience and response to climate shocks in regional member countries.

The comprehensive programme, open to regional member countries, will enhance their ability to evaluate climate-related risks and costs, respond to disasters and review adaptation measures at both national and sub-national levels.

 It will also facilitate initial financing for countries in need of support.  The programme's initial phase is expected to run from 2019 to 2023.

The enhanced resilience and adaptation of countries to the negative impacts of climate change, as well as disaster risk insurance cover, will reduce the vulnerability of the poor to climate change and act as a safeguard against loss of livelihoods in communities, especially for smallholder farmers. Nine countries have already expressed interest in participating in the programme– Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.

"Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change, prone to a wide variety of natural disasters including droughts, floods and tropical cyclones. However, disaster risk management suffers from inadequate financing and challenges in the deployment of available funds", said Atsuko Toda, Bank Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development.

ADRiFi will promote disaster response mechanisms such as sovereign parametric index-based insurance, for which payouts will be disbursed automatically and in timely manner when a pre-defined risk threshold is exceeded. It is estimated that every US$ 1 spent on ex-ante intervention through the programme will save US$ 4.40 in ex-post disaster relief measures for a response carried out six months after the event.

 

 

Rising Temperatures Pushing Africans Into Poverty, Hunger

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report detailing progress and pathways to liming global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Responding to the report, Mr. Apollos Nwafor, Pan Africa Director of Oxfam International said Climate change has set the african planet on fire and already millions are feeling the impacts.

“The IPCC just showed that things can get much worse. Settling for 2 degrees would be a death sentence for people in many parts of Africa. The faster governments embrace the renewable energy revolution and move to protect communities at risk, the more lives and livelihoods that will be spared.

"A hotter Africa is a hungrier Africa. Today at only 1.1 degrees of warming globally, crops and livestock across the region are being hit and hunger is rising, [i] with poor small scale women farmers, living in rural areas suffering the most. It only gets worse from here.

"To do nothing more and simply follow the commitments made in the Paris Agreement condemns the world to 3 degrees of warming. The damage to our planet and humanity would be exponentially worse and irreparable.

"None of this is inevitable. What gives us hope is that some of the poorest and lowest emitting countries are now leading the climate fight. We've moved from an era of 'you first' to 'follow me' - it's time for the rich world to do just that.

"Oxfam calls for increased, responsible and accountable climate finance from rich countries that supports small scale farmers, especially women to realize their right to food security and climate justice.

"While time is short, there is still a chance of keeping to 1.5 degrees of warming. We must reject any false solution like Large Scale Land Based Investments that means kicking small scale farmers off their land to make way for carbon farming and focus instead on stopping our use of fossil fuels, starting with an end to building new coal power stations worldwide."

Climate impacts in Africa:

Natural disasters such as droughts and floods have been thwarting development in the African continent. Fluctuations in agricultural production due to climate variations along with inefficient agricultural systems cause food insecurity, one of the most obvious indicators of poverty.  

The 2016 El Niño phenomenon, which was super charged by the effects of climate change, crippled rain-fed agricultural production and left over 40 million people foods insecure in Africa. Without urgent action to reduce global emissions, the occurrence of climate shocks and stresses in the Africa region are expected to get much worse.

 

Little Hands Go Green Goes To San Francisco Climate Change March

Climate change is increasingly becoming a hot topic globally and has brought together all nations to find a long lasting solution to the impending catastrophe.

In Uganda, Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green is leading the charge by initiating a number of projects that teach children how to preserve the environment as a measure of mitigating climate change.

This has worked just fine, as the organization has manged to organize a number of environmental events and inspired a multitude of children and parents to embrace the idea of preserving the environment.

And recently the CEO of Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green was in San Francisco, United States of America, joining the reset of the world, participating in this years Rise For Climate March.

While in San Francisco, Joseph Masembe and thousands of activists marched from the Embarcadero to Civic Center to take a stand against climate change.

The march came days before world leaders, researchers and activists arrive in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit, organized by the UN and Governor Jerry Brown.

The Global Climate Action Summit will start on 13th September with a two-day program of invitation-only events, report launches and climate commitment announcements aimed at “Taking Ambition to the Next Level.”

It will end with a Call to Global Climate Action and the Summit outcomes on Sept. 14, asking national governments to raise their ambition by 2020 and looking forward to the UN secretary-general’s leaders’ Summit happening in New York in September 2019.

Throughout its program, the Global Climate Action Summit will bring together state and local governments, businesses, and citizens from around the world to showcase climate action taking place, demonstrating how the tide has turned in the race against climate change and inspiring deeper national commitments in support of the Paris Agreement.

The Summit’s five headline challenge areas are Healthy Energy Systems, Inclusive Economic Growth, Sustainable Communities, Land and Ocean Stewardship, and Transformative Climate Investments.

Kids Prepped On Kavera Dangers

To mark this year’s World Environment Day, Little Hands Go Green, a civil society organization championing environment conservation among children, and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) teamed up to educate children and Ugandans about the dangers of using polyethylene bags commonly known as kaveera.

The two agencies activated what they called Kavera Free Uganda World Environment Day Caravan. The caravan saw both NEMA and Little Hands Go Green with support from various stakeholders visited different schools in eastern Uganda with the gospel of ending the use of kaveera as a means of conserving the environment.

The caravan was launched in Prayer Palace Primary School in Kireka, in Wakiso District before visiting schools in Mukono , Lugazi, Jinja, Tororo and Mbale districts. The caravan saw stakeholders plant trees, collect littered kaveera and cleaned towns.

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Deputy Executive Director Ms Christine Akello urged pupils to get rid of plastic bags which pose a great danger to the environment.

Paula Marie, one of the Little Hands Go Green Ambassadors revealed that have started mini caravan from school because they want the children to know that the future is in their hands and they should protect environment for a better tomorrow.

Joseph Masembe, the chief executive officer of Little Hands Go Green, called out Ugandans to be ‘selflessly patriotic and put the interests of future generations before the interests of a few investors and capitalists’ who benefit from the sale of kaveera.

Uganda proposed to ban the use of kaveera a decade ago but has struggled to enforce the ban because of political and economic intrigue and now Masembe says there is need to enforce the ban religiously and have government fully support NEMA to avoid double standards.

By involving children, parents, teachers and other stakeholders, Masembe is making a call to action because there is no plan B when it comes to conserving the environment.

“We owe it to our children and grandchildren to support them in sound environmental practice because it is only through this that we can salvage a greener Pearl of Africa for them. There is a lot to contend with, depleted forest cover, charcoal burning, plastic pollution, wetland encroachment, poaching and loss of biodiversity.

I could go on and on, therefore if we can stop thinking that the job of securing a greener future is a job for NEMA ,UNDP, ESKOM , Little Hands Go Green and other organizations and start to look at it as a job for you and me we will start to see real progress.”

Little Hands Go Green has planted 250,000 fruit trees across Uganda since inception. It regularly engages schools, children and other stakeholders in practically educating children to plant trees as a tool to conserve the environment.

Speaking in Mbale during the World Environment Day celebrations, French Envoy to Uganda Ms Stephanie Rivoal revealed that plastics are contributing to the decline of soil productivity & fish species in Lake Victoria.

Bunyoro Media Practitioners Challenged To Consider Environmental Issues

By George Busiinge

Journalists in Bunyoro have been challenged to prioritize environmental issues in their reporting as a way of creating civic awareness

Ivan Amaniga Ruhanga, the manager extractives at World Wide Fund (WWF), speaking at a one day media training on environmental reporting at Glory Summit Hotel Hoima last week, said little space in the media is given to environmental issues in the region.

Ruhanga said there is a lot to cover about environment now that the region is about to start producing oil and gas. He said media practitioners should report responsibly to enhance good governance in the country.

Birrah Nassah the executive director mid-western region ant-coalition (MIRAC) requested the media houses to always consider environmental stories as far as oil and gas is concerned.

Michael Businge, the coordinator for Bunyoro Albertine Petroleum Network on Environment (BAPENECO) said much more environment reporting by media houses operating in the region is needed.

He said the training was aimed at building capacities for media practitioners on matters of environment which attracted journalists from Masindi, Buliisa, Kiryandongo, Kibaale, Hoima, Kagadi and other districts from Bunyoro region.

BAPENECO also trained environmental monitors from Bunyoro region in different skills. Busiinge while taking to Earthfinds said that the monitors were trained in compensation and resettlement, monitoring company compliance with environmental standards, grievance interaction mechanism in oil and gas industry and waste management.

Meanwhile Giles Agambe, the executive director, REIGN Uganda added that limited budgets at lower local government in the environmental conservation sector needs key advocacy and attention if the environmental issues are to succeed.

He says this limits the environmental officer’s efforts to monitor and implement environmental related laws.

Kenyan Land Market Surges

The 2018 East Africa Property Investment (EAPI) Summit released on Tuesday unveiled the new Hass County Land Prices Report as it launched two days of intensive sessions on the regional real estate industry's most pressing challenges, and greatest opportunities.

The summit reported that county land prices had risen by an average 7.37 per cent in 2017, compared to a 12.07 per cent rise in 2016, suffering a general slowdown on election uncertainty and Kenya's new interest rate cap.

However, the county survey delivered evidence of ongoing market strength, as well as underlying patterns pushing land prices in sometimes opposite directions.

"Countrywide, infrastructure development continued to drive strong price growth," said HassConsult Head of Development Consulting Sakina Hassanali. "For many investors, the magical key still remains 'follow the roads'."

Local economic growth also continued to drive land prices upwards.

"We see clearly from price growth of 12 to 14 per cent in Nakuru and Kisumu last year that areas enjoying an influx of business and finance, and underpinned by robust agricultural economies, were only slowed marginally by the elections and rate cap," said Kfir Rusin, EAPI Managing Director.

The county land report, which covers 10 counties and 75 towns across Kenya, also analysed the towns and suburbs that experienced the greatest growth in land prices, and those that suffered falling land prices, finding evidence of pricing cycles playing out within multiple counties.

"From the more than 20 per cent surge in land prices in Utange, which delivered the strongest growth of the year on an influx of elite residents vacating Nyali, to a similar movement to Ngata by residents from Nakuru, the data showed shifts to new residential beacons, as intensive development began to take the shine off former hot spots," said Ms Hassanali.

"Likewise, in tracking the surge in prices in Embakasi, and to a lesser extent Donholm, we see the first signs of gentrification of inner city areas as congestion and commuter lifestyles elevate the attraction of these areas' proximity to the workplace."

Commenting on these urban cycles now playing out in Kenya, Mr Rusin noted that East Africa was now running a full cycle from initial generation of new conurbations, to the regeneration of older centres.

"This latest survey and it's wealth of data show a clear picture of early waves of development driven by advantages of accessibility, location, local activity, and resources such as strong water supply. But as development intensifies, many conurbations experience an evolving character that triggers waves of buyer flight and then a new type of influx," he said.

"Investment into such cycles requires far more insight into the nature of specific areas than was previously the case, when all land prices were rising exponentially."

The county land survey also identified several spots where land prices appear to have overheated, only to sink thereafter, among them Thika, where land prices rose by more than 30 per cent in 2016, only to fall by more than 4 per cent last year, in the biggest price fall of the year.

"Investors need to be wary of surges that fly over and above any development norm, as spots that will very often suffer subsequent price corrections, or, at the very least, subdued and even depressed pricing for some years to follow, as is the case of Ridgeways in Kiambu," said Ms Hassanali.

However, as analysts moved to review the drivers in the multiple local real estate markets, the strength of the overall land price growth - in an election year that saw many commitments stalled and finance constrained on policy interventions - was "a clear testimony to the ongoing potential and needs in Kenyan real estate," said Mr Rusin.

Environment Minister Blames Lower Local Governments

By George Busiinge

The State Minister for Environment Mary Goretti Kitutu has blamed environmental protection agencies in lower local governments for failing to utilize their mandate to protect forests, wetlands and other ecological sensitive areas from destruction.

Addressing a regional dialogue on the assessment of the underlying issues affecting environment at the Hoima district headquarters in Kasingo Thursday afternoon, Kitutu said the environment act empowers local government officials to protect forests and wetlands but this is not being done.

She directed the district environment officers to work with district leaders and environmental police to evict forest and wetland encroachers in the region. She warned leader’s against settling immigrants in forests and wetlands saying Bunyoro risks turning into a semi-arid area in the near future if trees are not protected.

Meanwhile, the executive director of NEMA Dr. Tom Okurut appealed to the district leaders to take special interest in administering express penalties to those carrying out illegal activities in wetlands and forests. He said the authority is working with the ministry to enact a revised environmental act which will address the weak penalties in the current law.

Joseline Nyangoma, the Hoima district senior environment officer said limited funding, uncoordinated operations and limited political will was to blame for forest and wetland destruction. The leaders resolved to embrace their roles in management of wetlands, noise pollution, waste and fragile ecosystem.

 

 

Little Hands Go Green Ambassadors Selected Ahead Of Kids’ Climate Conference

The build up to this year’s International Children’s Climate Change Conference to be held on Friday 20th April 2018 at Ntinda School for the Deaf is taking shape and getting the needed momentum.

Little Hands Go Green, the organizers of the climate change conference targeting children in Uganda and East Africa, on March 26th, joined their partner Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) at the Environmental Champions Award Ceremony which was held at Kitante Primary School.

At the ceremony, outstanding children were selected and crowned as Little Hands Go Green Ambassadors in their Schools. And 10 of the best school exhibitions highlighting this year's conference theme of End Plastic Pollution, Restore Wetlands and Protect Nature will be showcased at this year's conference.

The Director Education Services at KCCA commended Little Hands Go Green for their continued partnership with KCCA ‘in greening up’ schools and fostering sound environmental practice in schools.

The CEO of Little Hands Go Green Joseph Masembe thanked the environmental patrons of the schools for ‘continuously helping to drive and support the children in environmental conservation education even when it is not part of the formal education curriculum.’

This year's International Children's Climate change conference in April will be   Uganda's main celebration of World Earth Day and is organized in proud partnership with NEMA the Earth Day Network, KCCA, NFA and the ministry of water and environment.

This year’s International Children’s Climate Change Conference will look at curbing pollution of the environment using plastic wastes, restoring of wetland and planning for and protection of the environment for future use.

Masembe says the theme and the conference are timely and comes at a time when stakeholders are trying to enforce some of the country’s laws to safeguard the environment.

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