Combating the effects of climate change has seen various responses being instituted worldwide. Africa, the least emitter of Greenhouse gases globally will suffer most from its adverse effects. However, measures have been instituted to assist Africa in coping with such challenges through funding interventions.
The Climate Change Adaptation Fund is one such initiative.
Some of the world’s largest private companies have joined the climate change band wagon. What has emerged out of this is what is known as the ‘business of climate change’ where cash is the overriding factor in trying to sort this mess.
These solutions seem attractive to me in addressing the pressing challenge and opportunity which Rwanda and its neighbors, in the form of the bubbling methane gas emanating from the bowels of Lake Kivu.
At the public sector level officials of the Ministry of Environment and Rwanda Environment Management Authority ought to make urgent steps to access the adaptation funds.
Once Government has access to these ‘climate’ funds , crafting new policy responses and action plans become less daunting.
This new policy can look at the long term needs assessment and guidance position on how the exploitation can be undertaken for local, regional and international markets.
Meaning that exploitation by interested parties must follow certain guidelines. Such guidelines can be informed by what other African economies, such as South Africa have been doing.
For instance, the gas deposits are huge with potential of radically changing the livelihoods of those living within this area.
A community development livelihoods policy can be incorporated into the new policy as is the case in South Africa, where a percentage of the proceeds is channeled directly back into the surrounding communities.
Channeling part of the proceeds into the coffers of the district authorities within the decentralization program can be considered.
Another idea would be to institute an ‘energy-mix’ component into the policy where exploitation would be spread out.
Meaning that, other uses apart from electric power generation, ought to be explored. Methane gas has wide applications such as powering of cars or use for cooking or other industrial applications like what Bralirwa S.A does by using it to make its beverages.
Once a new policy approach has been elaborated, then the Rwanda Development Board ought to start aggressively promoting the private sector driven responses.
Project ideas for the different applications can then be drafted and forwarded to interested parties for consideration for further support, funding and commercialization.
Such sources are numerous. The catalogue carbon funds administered by the World Bank, European Union’s Climate change funds and the Global Environmental Facility are some of the sources.
If this is done then exploitation process can be steered successively. By so doing Rwanda will develop a mega project to participate in reducing the release of harmful gases while contributing to sustainable development.
Rwanda on the other hand will have achieved energy security.
The author is a journalist with The New Times