Experts say Horn of Africa’s climate resilience hinges on decarbonizing energy

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The debilitating impact of climate change

Decarbonizing the energy sector in the Horn of Africa through policy and regulatory reforms as well as technology transfer are key to strengthening the resilience of local communities amid climatic stresses, experts said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a webinar convened by Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the experts called for robust financing, fiscal incentives and training to boost uptake of green energy in a region reeling from negative impacts of climate change.

Antony Karembu, principal investment officer and renewable energy specialist at African Development Bank (AfDB) said that decarbonizing the Horn of Africa’s energy industry will strengthen climate response.

Karembu pointed out that the transition to renewable energy, supported by a conducive regulatory framework, is key to combat climate change, improve environmental and human health in the region. He said that governments should leverage robust financing, innovations, technology and knowledge transfer to boost uptake of cleaner energy solutions like solar, wind and geothermal.

The Horn of African region, which accounts for less than 1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, has borne the brunt of negative impacts of climate change like recurrent droughts, hunger and water stress.

Tedd Moya Mose, chief of staff at Scotia Group, an international think-tank, said that the adoption of energy systems that are less carbon-intensive will boost climate action in the region, besides opening new opportunities for young innovators.

Mose stressed that regulatory reforms, investing in supportive infrastructure and subsidizing manufacturers of clean energy products are required to boost uptake of greener energy sources by households and businesses.

Willis Ochieng, chief energy planner at Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) said that tax rebates for local manufacturers of solar solutions, windmills and clean cooking stoves has paved the way for rapid uptake of green energy by homes and enterprises.

Izael da Silva, deputy vice-chancellor at Nairobi’s Strathmore University and a renewable energy specialist said that countries in the region should invest in innovation hubs and capacity building to hasten a transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Enditem

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