Only 5% of green fund go to local private sector

Residents weed under bamboo trees planted as part of the green growth agenda. (Courtesy)

There is need to refine mechanisms to unlock climate financing to the local private sector to build more resilience to climate change effects, environmental experts have said.

According to Hubert Ruzibiza, the Chief Executive of Rwanda’s Green Fund (FONERWA), since the inception of the fund, only 5 per cent of the funds were directed to private sector, hence the need for more consideration of private sector in green economy and green businesses.

The fund invests in the best public and private projects that have the potential for transformational change in environmental protection as part of contributing to Rwanda vision of becoming low carbon and climate resilient economy by 2050.

Five years since its establishment, he said, it has already have mobilised close to $140 million from different sources whereby through 32 active investments, the fund has seen 137,000 green jobs created.  Among them are 82,000 jobs were created for women and 54,000 for men.

These investments have protected close to 20,000 hectares from soil erosion and  more than 100,000 people have been supported to cope with the effects of climate change.

The investments have also created an additional 40,000 hectares of forest and agri-forest coverage, he said adding that almost 28,000 households now have improved access to green, clean energy.

However, he noted that of all funds that were disbursed for green projects, only 5 per cent went to private sector.

“We have to push unlocking green Rwanda financing to ensure sustainable natural resources through research and technology transfer.  Climate change mainstreaming with private sector is critical sector in building resilience. By looking at green economy, we need green businesses and green jobs whereby private sector play a big role,” he said.

According to Alex Mulisa, an environmental expert, the reason behind low funding to the private sector include lack of bankable projects.

Patrick Karera, the Advisor to the Minister of Land and Forest said that even  as domestic finance increased over the past years to greening initiatives there has been low private sector involvement.

“We are referring to National Strategy for Transformation to consider private sector. For instance we want to give more than 80 per cent of state forests to private sector for management,” he said.

Anthony Owusu Annan, a Climate Finance Specialist working with Global Green Growth Institite in Rwanda, noted that there is need for efforts to channel more finance to private sector to ensure maintain a green economy.

According to Charles Karangwa, the Country Representative and Regional Forest Landscape Restoration Coordinator at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there is need for homegrown innovative solutions, technology transfer and research as well as financial resources that can transform landscape into green.

“For instance, we conducted a study on the cost that could go to restoring one hectare of degraded land and forests and established that it can be reduced from $850 to $250 if the countries use homegrown solutions such as Umuganda (community work). We need to leverage both international climate financing and domestic mechanisms such as Umuganda, among many other solutions,” he said.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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