Govt urged on green investments

while Rwanda is one of the best places to do business globally, the Government must continously promote green investments if it is to achieve its sustainable development goals, stakeholders have said.

On Monday, the Government launched the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Partnership Plan, which will guide the country towards delivering its commitments to the Paris Agreement. The plan seeks to fast-track climate mitigation and adaptation.

Pablo Vieira, Global Director of NDC Partnership Support Unit at World Resources Institute, said that the NDC plan has to put emphasis on tackling the impacts of climate change in specific sectors such as energy, transport, urbanisation and human settlements, lands and forestry, agriculture, accompanied with clear targets for their achievement.

“It is our hope that this plan will advance in a fast and coordinated manner and boost implementation of Rwanda’s climate change ambition, tackling the impacts of climate change, and delivering on the country’s commitments to advance the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda,” Vieira said.

Several environment experts and activists at the ongoing Africa Green Growth forum argued that although the initial investment in green ventures might be relatively high compared to conventional means, it was necessary to offset long-term losses.

For instance, Anthony Nyong, Director of Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, said that Africa has some of the fastest growing countries in the world, yet the growth is neither inclusive nor sustainable.

“Yes we are a low emitting continent but if we allow things to go the way they are going, in couple of decades, Africa will the highest emitting continent. That is every dangerous,” Nyong said.

He noted that the AfDB has invested $55 million in infrastructure and equipment for severe weather observations in one continental and four regional climate centres to build climate resilience.

“Green growth encourages us to develop clean now, not develop dirty and clean up later. We might not have enough resources at our disposal in the future to clean up. China has not been able to clean up and I don’t think it will be able to clean up,” Nyong added.

Green growth is a term to describe a path of economic growth that uses natural resources in a sustainable manner. It is used globally to provide an alternative concept to typical industrial economic growth.

Frank Rijsberman, Director-General, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), also observed that some developing countries like Rwanda to ensure sustainable development, there’s no alternative than to embrace technological disruptions in terms of investments that are environmental friendly, such as e-car, e-bicycles, e-motorbikes and ensuring that all buildings and infrastructure are green.

“Since climate change is the defining issue of our time, green growth is not only necessary but also affordable. Green growth is really the only path for Africa towards sustainable development,” Rijsberman

Rijsberman said that, as much as governments have a role to play, it is also upon the private sector to look at green investments as a way to ensure ideal climate for generations to come. In so doing, he says, governments will not have to spend a lot of time fighting climate change impacts in the future.

“There is urgent change that is needed for Africa to mitigate climate change and that will also determine the amount of money needed for climate financing. We have to find ways to have e-mobility or green infrastructure. The earlier the better,” he noted.

The world needs $4.5 trillion every year to mitigate climate change effects and achieve sustainable development goals, according to the World Bank.

“That is a lot of money. The money from the assistance fund is not even 6 per cent of the total amount needed. Government has to invest in this from taxes but the private sector has to play a larger role. You asked how? Through establishing different business models that are environmental friendly and sustainable,” Rijsberman added.

UN Rwanda Resident Coordinator Fodé Ndiaye noted that active involvement of the private sector and civil society (outside the government and public arena) “is the next big step that the Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy (GGCRS) needs to address.

How can we form economic incentives so that individuals and private sector companies can actively contribute to a low carbon environmentally sustainable growth pattern?” he posed.

According to the to the latest Climatescope findings published by BloombergNEF (BNEF), Rwanda ranks fifth globally among countries that have created opportunities for investments in clean energy.

Winifred Ngangure, Head of Investment Promotion at Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said that this is an indication that you don’t need to have the largest market to promote investment in key areas such as green growth.

Ngangure acknowledged that the time is now for Africa to increase its green growth and circular economy investments, place young people in green jobs and promote continued and consistent improvements in resource use and efficiency.

Olivier Mbera, the Country Manager of Enviroserve Rwanda Green Park-Rwanda’s E-waste recycling facility, said that it is important that private sector takes advantage of new business models that use resources to their full potential, eliminate waste and pollution, and support nature to regenerate.