PSF joins Rwanda ‘green revolution’

Cactus green house project.
As Rwanda joins the global fight to accelerate efforts in promoting and ensure the protection of the environment and sustainable management of natural resources, the private sector has been vibrant in injecting remarkable feeds into the drive.

The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) strategic plan says, the Private Sector Federation (PSF) as an engine of growth, has ‘a primary interest in environmental stewardship’, especially in Rwanda where most of the development is hinged on the health and productivity of the ecosystems.

REMA’s Director General Eng. Colleta Ruhamya, however, acknowledges that the private sector has been instrumental is implementing environmental-friendly projects, such as afforestation but hopes for more involvement in setting up other green investments for green growth.

The entry point for engaging the private sector has already been created through the Cleaner Production Programme, initiated by REMA, and the space for public-private sector dialogue on the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) implementation.

Beyond Rwanda, private sector’s role is highly taken into account for Paris climate agreement.

For example, at United Nations Climate Conference (COP22), held in Marrakesh Morocco, Members of Rwanda’s private agencies, whereby Rwanda was represented by PSF met with representatives of the National Designated Authority for engagement with International Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Rwanda Green Fund (Fonerwa) and learnt more about opportunities for financing investment in green growth initiatives in Rwanda.

Rwanda is implementing different climate programs and Green Growth and Climate Resilience strategy that target low carbon economy by 2050.

The Fonerwa coordinator, Alex Mulisa speaking about the investment avenues of the fund at the climate summit said the fund offers lowest interests rate of 11.45 % for loans to the private sector.

“We can’t achieve anything without the involvement of the private sector. Private sector is the main actor in either destroying the ecosystem or saving it, through various entrepreneurial activities.

“I am glad that the leadership at the Private Sector Federation has shown willingness to protect our environment through adopting green investments. Climate change mitigation requires huge amount of resources, as well the private sector participation in resource mobilization, we are also ready to support them in implementing green investments in Rwanda,” Mulisa said in a recent interview.

A look at some of the private sector green projects

In the recent past, Benjamin Gasamagera, the chairman of PSF has been vocal in rallying the federation members to invest in green private sector initiatives.

PSF has so far been instrumental in investing in a number of green projects such as; renewable energy, waste management, forest protection, agriculture, transport, construction and many others that promote resilience to climate change.

With Rwanda targeting to reduce the use of biomass by 50 % by 2020, the private sector investors and cooperatives are urged to engage in renewable energy such as solar energy, biogas, cooking gasses that support promote modern cooking stoves, and others.

Investing in sustainable energy

During the Energy Business Dialogue, held last February, Minister of State in charge of Energy and Water in the Ministry of infrastructure, Germaine Kamayirese encouraged the Private sector partners to invest heavily in the development of different sustainable and renewable energy sources.

With the current energy distribution standing at 22% in the country, the government seeks to increase this rate to around 70% by 2018.

Most of the domestic energy used in Rwanda originates from biomass, which has a great negative impact on the environment.

Environment Experts say, access to different sources of renewable energy could reduce threats to forests especially in rural areas and some manufacturers that are still using firewood.

Also using renewable energy is expected to reduce gas emissions that lead to global warming.

The government of Rwanda in partnership with private sector signed power purchase and concession agreements with different firms to enhance energy generation. These firms include Symbion Power which will produce 50MW from Lake Kivu Methane gas, Ignite to provide solar energy solutions to 250,000 households and a Turkish Firm Hakan to operate and transfer an 80MW Peat power plant to produce electricity

Mobisol is yet another member of the private sector which has been vibrant in spreading solar energy.

PSF in forestry

Recently the Rwanda natural resources ministry invited private sector in forest management.

The forestry department at the ministry shows that 40,389 hectares are on market for the public-private partnership, co-management and investment.

Investment opportunities for the private sector are in tree planting on public land, wood processing industry in big forest plantations and recreational activities both in natural and artificial forests.

Others are in non-wood forestry products like beekeeping, as well as co-management in local cooperatives and communities of small forests.

Waste management

Waste management has in a long time been an environmental threat to urban areas and therefore the city of Kigali has been seeking private investor in turning the waste into energy.

It is clear that some private investors have joined the drive. A cited example is how Novel Energy Company is turning rice husks into energy in Rwanda.

The private sector is also to engage in solid waste management where a collection of solid and electronic wastes, as well as recycling, will be managed by people in the private sector bringing together groups of collectors, private companies, producers and retailers associations.

The dismantling factory is being constructed in Bugesera district and will partner with STEEL Rwanda in recycling the waste.

The private sector project also looks at climate resilience in agriculture

A new report from the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) shows that for each dollar invested through its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), farmers could earn a return of between US$1.40 and $2.60 over a 20 year period by applying climate change adaptation practices.

Climate change proposals on agriculture need to be supported by credible economic and financial proposals in order to unleash significant public and private finance, experts say.

The private sector’s dominance in infrastructure development has come a long with conducting Environment Impact Assessment as the first step on the site of construction to ensure environmental-friendly advancement.

Some of Houses, industries, petrol stations have been reported by REMA to not comply with that assessment and thus pollute the environment, cause air pollution, lack of waste management, clean technologies among many others and therefore some industries are annually awarded for using clean production technologies.

In Rwanda, private investors have invested in recycling plastic bags into different materials.the bags were banned years ago while private companies that import goods were discouraged from importing such plastics bags.

The private sector has also invested in many environment protection projects which the Rwanda Green fund also supported.

They are such sustainable biodiversity: mapping and domesticating the mycological riches of Rwanda’s forests by Kigali farms, Gaseke Minis-Hydro Power Plant by Novel Energy Limited, Technical & Structural Studies For Incorporating Resource efficient and Environmentally friendly Features into Family Homes at CACTUS GREEN PARK (CGP), Gasabo District, Kigali City by Horizon Group, SimGas BioGas by SimGas BioGas

Others are Virtual Grid Rwanda by Off-Grid Solutions / WakaWaka Rwanda Ltd, Clean and affordable electricity access for off-grid Rwandan communities using solar-powered microgrids by MESH POWER among many others.