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Climate Change: Africa fights back on its own terms

Posted on Monday, 27 July 2009 00:00

An energetic array of green initiatives is sprouting up across Africa to protect natural resources, harness sustainable energy and spur green growth.?

  • The Green Wall for Sahara: spanning from Dakar in the west to Djibouti in the east, this 7,000km-long, 15km-wide wall of trees will, the AU hopes, act as a ‘green lung’ preventing the Sahara desert’s expansion, reducing the number of climate-related migrants and creating a strip of protected topsoil for high-yield farming. Set to launch fully in 2009, the two-year initial phase is estimated to cost $3bn.
  • Wind turbines: Expected to be running by 2010, Lake Turkana Wind Power consortium’s 353-turbine wind farm in Kenya, financed by a $405m AfDB loan, should reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 16m tonnes and gain valuable carbon credits. Other wind projects set to come online within the next three years are the 120 MW Ashegoba plant in northern Ethiopia, funded by $287m from France, a $284m wind facility in Tunisia’s Bizerte region, and a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and Theolia to build a 300 MW wind farm in Tarfaya, Morocco.
  • Geothermal energy: East Africa leads the way in geothermal power. Kenyan power company KenGen obtained a KSh2.4bn ($31.2m) credit facility in April from the French development agency to extend the Olkaria geothermal plant to increase generation of electricity to 105 MW. The expansion has qualified for carbon credits of around KShs800m under the Clean Development Mechanism.
  • Solar power: A German consortium led by Munich Re is garnering $555bn to create Desertec, a project to cover the Sahara in solar panels that could generate 20 GW a year for both export to Europe and domestic consumption. Egypt is also scaling up ‘concentrating solar power’ plants that use solar radiation to produce electrical power and drive chemical reactions, and is piloting a hybrid gas-solar plant in Kuraymat, south of Cairo.
  • Green tax incentives: South Africa is proposing environmental tax incentives to address the negative effects of climate change. The draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill 2009 would allow businesses to cut their tax bill by reducing carbon emissions and obtain income-tax deductions in return for proof of energy-efficiency savings.
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