Zambia : Zambia within reach of $50b Climate, energy fund

Ambassador Mukwita (C) with Simalabwi (L) and First Secretary Kaunda during last month’s COP23Zambia’s plan to access up to US$50 billion for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation programs for the period between 2018 and 2030 is now in sight said Zambia’s Ambassador to Germany Anthony Mukwita.

Speaking at the high-level meeting taking place in Lusaka for purposes of enhancing a national strategy for accessing resource mobilization, ambassador Mukwita said the money will be accessed once Zambia’s partners establish that the government of Zambia is willing to access the money that comes mostly in grants and low concessions.

The money must be pumped into areas sensitive to climate change such as energy, agriculture, water and other natural resources as green house emissions continue to wreak havoc on many sub Saharan African countries added Alex Simalabwi, the Executive Director of Global Water Partners SA that is spearheading the initiative of accessing the fund.

“The amount we are discussing ($50billion) is already contained in Zambia’s 7th National Development Plan,” Mr Simalabwi said, “The only difference is that instead of just talking about it, we have taken practical steps to actually access the money with the cooperation of the embassy of Zambia in Berlin and the Ministry of Lands”, he added.

During the 23rd Conference of Parties, COP23, a climate change conference that took place in November in Bonn, Germany, Global Water Partnership, the Zambian embassy in Berlin and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources agreed to work together on developing a national strategy for the mobilization of resources for investment in climate change related activities.

Funding has been a major bone of contention especially for Third World countries whose economies are heavily dependent on natural resources. In response, a funding mechanism was launched several years ago under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC with an initial pledge of $10b, a fund that now stands at $100b.

Several countries have already begun to benefit from this fund and many other similar private funds. Zambia, on her part, is set to explore the many sources of funding on offer and remains hopeful that the much-needed investment is coming given the determination of the Zambian government and the interest expressed by the investor community in the country.

“We are going to see significant benefits in the economy that include the creation of jobs in the energy, water and agriculture sectors”, said ambassador Mukwita whose embassy is expected to play a significant role in resource mobilization as Germany hosts the UNFCCC in addition to its global leadership in renewable energy technologies.

Already international investors have and continue to express interest in the Zambian energy sector since President Edgar Lungu decided to remove subsidies on electricity that for many years discouraged private investment in the sector. The lack of investment and Zambia’s vulnerability to Mother Nature was acutely illustrated in the 2015 power outages that came about as a result of low water levels. Businesses across the economy from mining to barbershops were hard hit forcing government to import power at great cost to the treasury.

“It is against this backdrop that we had to move quickly and take practical steps in following on our discussions in Bonn and actualize the provisions of the 7thNational Development Plan”, said Ambassador Mukwita who joined other government officials, local and international experts for a three-day meeting on resource mobilization.

The Lusaka indaba has been made possible with funding from the Global Water Partnership, GWP, in conjunction with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources. Also participating is Africa Greenco represented by CEO and co founder Ana Hanjuka, an organization that seeks investment in renewable energy across the African continent.

Economy –

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