News / Africa

World Bank Works to Promote Environmentally-Sensitive Development Projects

Reuben Kyama

Development experts are urging African policymakers to increase the number of projects that reduce carbon emissions, which in turn cause pollution and climate change. The World Bank is working with African countries to help attract such so-called green investments in renewable energy, forestry and other areas.

A manager of the institution’s BioCarbon Fund, Ellysar Baroudy, says the Bank is taking part in a series of projects around the region aimed at helping impoverished communities enjoy environmental and financial benefits from carbon finance.

Funding the projects are some of the world’s biggest polluters, including industrialized countries like the United States, China and the European Union.

In Niger, a project producing Arabic gum, helps absorb carbon dioxide. In Madagascar, Baroudy says a reforestation effort links two national parks: “It’s got 122 tree species, done to try to mimic nature and extend the range of park because of the value of tourism in Madagascar.”

The U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol was designed to fight global warming. Industrialized nations are expected to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels with most reductions coming domestically. Under the protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), companies and other investors in developed countries can earn carbon credits, or Certified Emission Reductions (CDRs), whose value is linked to the price of carbon dioxide.

Western companies can invest up to 15 percent of their CDRS in projects that reduce carbon emissions in Africa and the developing world.

UN official John Kilani says “The credits are based on real measurable and additional reductions that would not have occurred in the absence of the project [so, they contribute to mitigation efforts].”

The United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) says Africa has more than 120 carbon market projects up and running -- or in the pipeline -- in areas ranging from wind power to forestry. But compared with the rest of the world, the continent is still lagging, and its potential for clean and green energy is still largely untapped.

There are several reasons why.

Senior Communications Officer of the World Bank’s Carbon Finance Unit, Isabel Hagbrink, says they include a lack of financing and involvement by the private sector, and a failure by some African governments to back the projects or to take the lead. Many investors are more likely to invest in carbon reduction projects in regions with high rates of greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison, Africa’s are relatively low. Some African countries also lack technical support with many trained staff leaving for better paying jobs in industrialized countries.

John Kilani is with the secretariat of the UNFCCC. He says the groundwork has been laid for Africa to boost its participation in the carbon market which is growing as an important commodities market worldwide: “Africa has not fared very well so far…but we are optimistic that the situation hopefully will change in a few months ahead.”

The World Bank report, called “State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2009,” says in the past two years a number of countries have entered the CDM pipeline, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

Development experts note that there are currently about 120 projects now in Africa, with most of them in the larger countries like South Africa. According to the UN Environmental Program, efforts planned in Kenya and Uganda have jumped from about two in each country in 2007, to nearly 15.

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) says they include a number of initiatives to improve the economy and the environment. For example, they can develop fuel for electricity generation with methane gas from landfills or hydropower from rivers and dams. Also popular are efforts to regenerate forests, absorb carbon dioxide from the air and also replenish nutrients in the soil. They help prevent flooding. In one example in Kenya, the Bank is working with the Green Belt Movement, founded by Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai. Its goal is to plant trees using a community-based approach by a local group called Women for a Better Environment.

The UN agency says there could well be over 240 such projects in Africa within the next two years.

But Baroudy warns that it will be difficult for African countries to enjoy the full potential of carbon finance without a concerted effort to promote land use and forestry projects. They must also work to overcome the challenges that remain -- such as project finance and capacity building.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs