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  • Kenya Opens up to Forestry Development Programmes

    2010 - 05.18

    As the world switches to green economy investors are hurrying to form financing deals with Kenya. These partnerships are set to open new avenues for donor support, such as the country’s tree planting campaign, which can benefit from the international carbon credit market. According to Prime Minister Raila Odinga several investment bankers and overseas investors are currently engaged in negotiations with the government.

    “These are investors who see real and considerable opportunities in our forestry development programmes,” Odinga said on Wednesday at a consultative forum on Mau Rehabilitation.

    By 2030 the Kenyan government in a joint campaign with the private sector aims to increase the country’s forest cover from the current 1.7% to 10%. This has interested investment bankers who sense a financing opportunity.

    “Investors from the developed world have settled on Kenya as the most aggressive African country as far as preparedness to tap from the multi-billion international carbon credit opportunities are concerned,” Achim Steiner, the United Nations Environment Programme’s Executive Director said.

    The country has five water towers, which experts expect will stand as front runners in a rush to tap the multi-billion dollars, which industrialised countries have pledged to invest in green projects of the developing countries.

    The Mau Forest rehabilitation project has the potential of earning the country billions of shillings, according to Dr. Hellen Gichohi, president of the African Wildlife Foundation.

    “Our preliminary calculation estimates that Mau Forest has a potential of 15 million tonnes of carbon per year,” she said.

    If Kenya rehabilitates the Mau Complex and going by the average international rate of Sh1,600 per tonne of carbon it will earn Sh24 billion per annum in extra funding. Having looked at the budgetary allocation for last year this level of funding could be used to run the ministry of health for a whole year. In total according to the chairman of the Mau rehabilitation programme, Mr. Hassan Noor Hassan Sh7.6 billion ($99.5 million) will be spent on the four year Mau rehabilitation programme.

    The Mau rehabilitation programme was established by the East African Breweries, Nation Media Group and Equity Bank in partnership with State agencies such as the Kenya Wildlife and Forestry Service.

    “Initially, most international donors adopted a wait-and-see attitude but this is likely to change this year as the country – both political and private sector – has now shown unprecedented commitment to the rehabilitation of water towers,” said Mr Steiner.

    One outcome from the meeting in Copenhagen was that industrialised countries committed themselves to funding the impact of climate change in the developing world at the cost of $30 billion.

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