6 December 2017

Rwanda: Environmental Experts Call for Bankable Green Projects

Photo: New Times
Participants at the launch of Green Growth Week in Kigali.

Environmental experts have called for financing of green technology projects that are attractive so as to help make Rwanda climate resilient.

They were discussing opportunities and challenges for green growth in developing countries during the ongoing Rwanda Green Growth Week, in Kigali yesterday.

The challenges, according to the experts, include uneven distribution of urban roads, slow uptake of green technologies, limited financial resources, lack of well-designed project proposals for funding, lack of skills and capacity to implement green growth plans and dependency on outside, among others.

"The private sector should take the lead on climate resilient projects since they have the funds to support such projects. However, most of them lack capacity to design good proposals that are worth funding," said Bright Ntare, Programme Manager at Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA).

He said, while various mechanisms are being used to mobilise resources for financing green projects, applicants should also bring innovation and creativity while designing the project proposals.

"We have realised that some project designers need technical assistance to meet our criteria. We need projects that target population and environment problems and are also in line with the country's vision. Some design projects but don't carry out enough consultancy in the sector related to the project. They should analyse the sector, consult citizens and understand issues which need to be solved," Ntare said.

"There is also a market segment that we ignore; people at the grassroots who might have good innovative green projects but are not aware of the fund or any other source of financing, such as BDF and banks, he added.

"So far, we have funded 35 green projects, worth about Rwf39 billion, while pending proposals for funds are about 1,000. The funded projects created about 123,000 green jobs, protected water sheds, built green villages, promoted clean energy, among other sectors," he said.

If we show people where to invest, we must show them evidence that such projects generate socio-economic benefits for the owners as well as contribute to national GDP," he added.

Since it was established, the fund has mobilised approximately US$100 million (Rwf 80 billion).

The fund's investments have restored more than 15,000 hectares of watersheds and protected more than 15,000 hectares of land against erosion, and enabled tree planting on more than 32,000 hectares across the country. In terms of green growth, 17,000 households have improved access to off-grid energy, while more than 95,000 people have been supported to cope with effects of climate change.

Urbanisation and green technologies

Eng. Coletha Ruhamya, the Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority, said green technologies cover different areas such as building houses, efficient energy use and renewable energy, waste treatment, water use, roads design, agriculture.

"As urbanisation is growing fast and population increasing, we need technologies to manage waste in the cities, manage water for agriculture, energy, and comply with green building code. Funds are available but there is need for better projects to finance such green technologies and coordination of institutions," she said.

Rwanda is approximately 18% urbanised, the lowest rate in Africa. However, the current average growth rate of the urban population in the country is 4.5%, above the world average of 1.8%.

Annual population growth rate is 9% in Kigali city while the national urbanisation target is 35% by 2020.

Innocent Kabenga, the country representative of Green Growth Institute, said more focus is on urbanisation as green cities are founded on main pillars; namely building, energy production and consumption, urban mobility that include efficient public transport reducing pollution, water production and distribution, and waste management where technologies can produce clean energy and fertilisers.

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