The World Bank Group has inaugurated a multimillion climate innovation centre to support Ghana’s growth strategy to help more than 100 local clean technology businesses develop and commercialise innovative solutions to mitigate effects of climate.
The launch of the first technology hub in the country on Tuesday came barely four months after the World Bank approved a financial package of $17.2 million to fund the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre located at Ashesi University College in Berekusu in the Eastern region.
The centre will support the country’s climate change policy to help over 300,000 Ghanaians increase resilience to climate change in the next 10 years.
It is also expected to support local clean technology ventures to mitigate 660,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the emissions of almost 140,000 cars in a year, World Bank said, and it will contribute to the production of over 260 million kWh of clean energy in the West African country.
Environmental scientists warn that if global temperatures rise by more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the consequences will be severe and, in some cases, irreversible and projected glaciers will continue to shrink, heat waves will be more frequent and the oceans will get warmer and more acidic.
UN special envoy on climate change and former Ghanaian president, John Kufuor, said at the launch that emerging countries like Ghana would be unable to mitigate climate change effects unless they joined global forces.
“I believe global action is crucial to fight the impact of climate change, I believe science and technology should be deployed at every stage, the effort must be global, this is what the world must be awakened to,” he said.
“If we are seeking green solutions to fight the impact, which is global, I believe public policy, donor community support, as well as private ventures should share the risk of investment to transition from fossil fuels to green energy.”
Kufuor urged donors to fulfil their pledges in terms of financial commitments and developed nations to extend technology to back developing countries in Africa’s fight against climate change.
“Africans cannot deal with the problem without global partnership,” he stressed, “we need the global community, the promises and pledges have been there for some time, unfortunately the pledgers have not fulfilled their pledges in terms of financial support, in terms of technological extension.
“No country is an island now, unless the world moves together to do something by 2020 or 2030 to put temperatures under two degrees Celsius, it will be like all of us being on the same boat, we either sail together or we sink together.”
Henry Kerali, World Bank country director for Ghana said, in a speech read on his behalf: “The Ghana CIC solidifies the role of the private sector in helping Ghana manage the effects of climate change.
“By enabling entrepreneurs and green innovators to test and scale new clean technologies, home grown business solutions can help the country build climate resilience, while also contributing to job creation and economic development.”
According to the World Bank report, Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change, without a proper green growth strategy, Ghana’s agricultural gross domestic product is projected to decline by 3 per cent to eight per cent by the middle of the century.
Coastal erosion from rising sea levels could result in significant loss of land and forced migration, while extreme weather events could further strain the country’s infrastructure.
To reduce the long-term cost of climate change and create opportunities for sustainable growth, the bank said the GCIC will provide local companies with the knowledge and resources they need to develop prototypes and market innovative clean technologies in sectors like climate-smart agriculture, waste water treatment, and off-grid renewable energy.
The services offered by the centre will include sea financing, policy interventions, and market connections, as well as technical and business training.
Similar centres have been established in the Caribbean, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morroco, South Africa and Vietnam.
Cape Town – Conservation has become a prominent and important factor in global tourism, and the move to responsible and sustainable practices is long overdue.
But while legislation and planned shifts are admirable, the move to more sustainable tourism practices globally has been slow. This, mainly because it’s difficult to change an already-operational hotel or tourism establishment from the top down.
This is where South Africa and the whole African continent has an ironic advantage on sustainable tourism – tourism growth is behind that of first world countries with leading economies.
In Africa, for example, the hotel industry grew nearly 30% over the past year and is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. With the high pressure and great rewards that come with going green, this means that new developments will be able to lay foundations for green hotels from the ground up, instead of having to adopt existing infrastructure to slot in with green practices.
It’s a concept that’s already gaining international recognition.
Hotel Verde in Cape Town serves as a prime example. This hotel opened in 2013 and was built on green-only principles. Within one year of existence, the hotel was already named a World leading establishment when became the very first hotel in the world to be awarded double platinum for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
But more and more African and South African establishments are being recognised for their sustainable achievement.
So much so that an incredible one-third of tourism organisations – 28 out of 75 – that have been longlisted for the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards can be found on the African continent. Of these, 11 establishments are South African.
The longlist was announced on #AfricaDay2016.
The numbers are looking good. Investment by value of mega-projects under construction grew by 46.2% in 2014, and Africa is expected to host nearly a quarter of the global urban population by 2050 – proof that the continent continues to present foreign investors and development companies with many inviting opportunities.
However, converting these into sustainable solutions that meet Africa’s needs will require a different philosophy and a new long-term approach from many players, according to Darryll Castle, chief executive of PPC.
He was speaking at a Gordon Institute of Business Science Forum event. In order to deliver on the continent’s vision of “sustainable success”, companies cannot simply adopt a “final frontier” philosophy and expand into the continent accordingly. They have to take both a macro and micro view – redefining return on investment such that it affects all stakeholder communities positively, he said.
As rising income and increasing levels of urbanisation continue to support economic growth across large portions of Africa, construction companies in emerging markets look set to grow well into the medium term.
“Investment by value of mega-projects under construction alone tripled from $103 billion (about R1.6 billion) to $326 billion in 2014 [according to Deloitte’s African Construction Trends Report 2014],” noted Castle.
“The latest Mo Ibrahim Foundation Report additionally forecasts that the next 35 years will see the continent accommodate 900 million new urban dwellers. Both of these paint an enticing picture for foreign investors, developers and construction firms – one which many have already started gearing to respond to.”
Expanding into Africa brings its own unique set of opportunities and challenges. It also moves continental “newcomers” into a development space – where a business as usual approach cannot meet non-negotiable growth and sustainability imperatives.
“Dumping building products cheaply, extracting resources without local beneficiation or any other form of business that is purely profit-oriented cannot be construed as ‘good for Africa’, especially against the back of the continent’s critical needs: reducing the cost of energy and mobility, job creation for youth and women as a priority, and growing manufacturing capabilities and intra-Africa trade, among others,” said Castle.
“As such, a far more long-term and legacy view of return on investment has to be taken – with the starting point for this exercise being to map out an inclusive list of project stakeholders.”
Government and local investors usually fall comfortably into the stakeholder category, but Castle said that many African-expansion exercises often excluded local communities and employees as key shareholders in the business.
“This typically manifests through imported labour [which does not unionise] and a lack of local succession planning – where the more ‘valuable’ skilled jobs remain reserved for foreign nationals ostensibly because the skills are not locally available. This effectively erodes and inhibits progress and development, exacerbating the cycles of poverty and economic exclusion that many local communities already find themselves in.”
He added that the alternative – an inclusive and participatory form of partnership – can, however, have the complete opposite effect.
“This is something we’ve seen ourselves through PPC’s expansion into Rwanda at our Cimerwa facility [in Bugarama in south-western Rwanda]. In this instance, we set a greater context for the partnership – notably that of ‘sustainable modernisation’.”
This enabled committed collaboration between all stakeholders: PPC and the Rwandan government, the Bank of Kigali, KCB Bank of Rwanda, the Eastern and Southern African Trade Development Bank, the local community, and up and downstream partners (including logistics providers) in the greater value chain.
“By setting critical milestones together and taking a purpose-driven approach, we have been able to roll the project out in a way that ultimately speaks to our collective legacy objectives,” said Castle.
These include extending Cimerwa’s production capacity from its previous 100 000 tons a year to 600 000 tons to meet the capacity needs of the Rwandan market and greater region, and implementing an extensive skills transfer programme that will ensure that over 95% of the total workforce employed at the new facility will ultimately be local.
“Investing in Africa requires ‘building’ Africa,” said Castle.
“To truly ‘build’ Africa, companies have to move beyond simply growing their asset base to creating meaningful capacity around them that will ensure communities remain self-sufficient well into the future. This is critical if we’re to realise the continent’s economic potential and uplift local communities so as to stimulate greater collaboration, growth and sustainable development for all of Africa’s peoples,” he concluded.
Brand South Africa presented an overview of the organisation and its efforts to encourage competitiveness in Africa at the 2016 Junior Chamber International (JCI) Africa and Middle East Conference, held in Johannesburg from 4 to 7 May 2016. The organisation presented during the conference’s Active Citizenship Workshop on 5 May 2016.
CEO Kingsley Makhubela also gave a keynote address on nation branding and the power of the youth in strengthening the nation brand.The Active Citizenship Workshop, presented by members of JCI Africa, focused on encouraging young people to become partners in progress for socioeconomic development. The aim of the workshop, and the conference itself, was to harness effective youth development practices to engage young people in the active roles they can take to build social cohesion.Delegates included JCI president Paschal Dike of Nigeria, and Tshepo Thlaku, chairman of the 2016 JIC event and president of JCI South Africa.
The BSA presentation highlighted the many strides the country has made in building its reputation in Africa and the world. It also looked at the social and economic advancement of the country through active citizenship and a strong focus on trade and industrial competitiveness.The presentation aimed, in the words of the Brand South Africa slogan, to inspire new ways to motivate other African countries to become storytellers for the continent.
In his keynote address, Makhubela spoke about how young people have the ability and passion to continuously change the world. He used the examples of both the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto student uprisings and last year’s #FeesMustFall demonstrations.”South African youth demonstrated how they could come together and collectively fight for a cause that would change the conditions for millions of young people in our country,” Makhubela said. “Education is a critical enabler for development and equally for national competitiveness. The youth of South Africa did more than just fight for no increases and additional funds, they are fighting for the country’s very development.”Turning to global issues, particularly those affecting Africa and the Middle East, Makhubela said youth power was key to spreading democracy and reducing inequality. “Young people are playing a critical role in raising levels of awareness about the unsustainability of current frameworks and paradigms,” he said.Concluding, Makhubela emphasised that young people must understand that with every right comes a responsibility to change the world without destroying it. He quoted the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for long term growth and development on the continent, which states: “Present generations are confident that the destiny of Africa is in their hands, and that we must act now to shape the future we want.”
Annually, the JCI conference brings together over 1 000 young active citizens, representing more than 50 partner countries from Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The attendees participate in a host of inspirational sessions, practical workshops, meetings with important political and economic players, as well as fun social events. These all encourage emerging young talent to share best practices, exchange ideas and determine the future of the organisation and the young people in the regions it represents.
Architecture firm Swisatec just announced plans to build a self-contained “Green Village” in Cape Town, South Africa that will be completely car-free and powered by solar energy. Taking up approximately 40 hectares of land, the village will contain 1,000 apartment units, as well as all the amenities its residents need to conduct their daily business, including doctors’ offices, boutiques, schools, and more.
The new Blue Rock Village isn’t going to be developed completely from scratch: instead, it’s an upgrade of the existing Blue Rock Resort, set beside an iconic Cape Town lake at a former quarry site. While cars won’t be needed to travel through the Village, residents still need to find a way to get there – it’s a half-hour drive to Cape Town proper. The development will include underground parking for residents, tucking their cars out of sight until they need to travel.
The apartments available range from one to four bedrooms, and will be made completely from eco-friendly and nontoxic materials. All appliances will be A++ rated energy efficient, and the units will be lit throughout with LEDs. The buildings even include features to manage water usage and will be able to run on self-generated solar power. Swisatec estimates the project will cost a staggering 14 billion rand, or $900 million US. Construction will start in September 2016.
Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Chief Operating Officer, Monika Weber-Fahr, said that to achieve 100% access to water and electricity, independent sectors need to work together. Weber-Fahr said this on Wednesday during an energy-focused keynote in Cape Town.
Efficient use of water and energy
It has been recorded that around 60-70% of water that enters a utility pipeline network, cannot be accounted for, confirming the need for a transformative approach around how both water and energy is utilised.
According to Weber-Fahr, the ability to strike a balance between the responsibility of power generation while remaining environmentally conscious in Africa is a false trade-off.
“If it was more difficult or more costly it would take much longer to feed renewables into your energy mix – this would be a trade-off – but the fact is it’s not. It’s as cheap or cheaper, it is much more available, particularly to the underserved population, and it is as easy and faster,” Weber-Fahr told Metering and Smart Energy International during an interview.
In an earlier report, ESI Africa reported that Denmark has been investing in sustainable technology in East Africa, with efforts to boost access to clean, affordable drinking water.
Denmark-based energy water solutions firm Grundfos has installed over 40 automated water kiosks in informal settlements in Kenya, which require only 20% of the energy utilised by normal water pumps.
According to the Danish firm, Nairobi’s City Water and Sewerage Company is currently installing these dispensers in its water supply networks.
Philip Gichuki, managing director of the Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company was quoted saying: “By automating water kiosks in informal settlements, we are able to keep the prices low and secure payment for water services provided to consumers.”
Gichuki added: “This will help us address commercial losses due to illegal water use.”
South Africa embraces efficiency
With the knowledge of how critical it is to adopt an energy efficient approach to how business is conducted, both within the private and public sectors, South African Energy Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson recently launched the South African National Energy Efficiency Campaign.
The department of energy launched a new energy efficiency label that will become mandatory for household appliances.
Joemat Pettersson said it was an “uncomfortable truth that South Africa is among the least energy efficient countries in the world. When there is loadshedding, South Africans look for more energy, rather than saving energy.”
The energy efficiency labelling programme, which has been developed over the past four years, is based on European standards and will initially apply to a basket of 12 appliances.
My family and I were recently stuck in moderate traffic in Sandton, Johannesburg, which led to a discussion between me and my kids about how traffic, and the way we deal with it as drivers, will look very different in future.
At a minimum, my kids will fully embrace the use of connected Uber-like car-share services to get around – or even more exciting, will use driverless vehicles. The potential impact of this on cities will be tremendous, not only in terms of time and efficiency, but also from the point of view of safety and our carbon footprint.
A report by US consulting firm McKinsey & Company analysed the impact of driverless cars on the incidence of fatal traffic accidents. They claim that deaths on the road in the US will reduce by up to 90% by mid-century. This is just one of the ways that our cities could feel the benefit of smart solutions. Intelligent transport combined with safety, security and utilities management – to mention but a few – will change the face of cities fundamentally for the next generation.
According to reports by the United Nations, in the next 40 years we will see 70% of the world’s population living in cities, and water scarcity for around 1.8 billion people (predominantly in developing countries) as a result of climate change.
This chart from the UN shows how fast African cities, in particular, are expected to grow between now and 2050.
To address these challenges, an efficient and competitive city will rely on purpose-driven industrial transformations to remain sustainable. ICT will be at the centre of this transformation process. For sustainable operations, cities must use ICT in ways that not only meet stakeholders’ initial sustainability requirements, but also enable an ongoing rebalancing of needs, resources and other priorities – such as the right to privacy.
It’s clear that the way in which cities balance economic competitiveness, environmental pressures and social needs will affect the lives of billions of people. But smart, sustainable city transformations are complex and difficult. So how do we ensure that African cities become not only smarter, but more sustainable?
1. A shared vision
There are many opportunities for smart solutions within cities. The challenge is to prioritise these options to three or four key focus areas and to then successfully deliver on them. Stakeholders need shared goals and a clear idea of how to achieve them.
2. Holistic governance
Leadership structures must be capable of retaining the holistic, macro view of the city’s needs, and enable all projects to follow the common vision, integrating both ICT and environmental priorities. In this way, common platforms, data formats and monitoring systems are ensured, which will enable the sharing of information for mutual benefit between departments – something that was impossible previously.
3. The mayor and the ecosystem
Cities are made up of a complex ecosystem of stakeholders. The key is to ensure governance structures, stakeholder groups, city departments, local government, public and private enterprises work together to drive the common smart-city agenda. In this, the mayor should take a leading role.
4. ICT development
The technology landscape is evolving rapidly, so it is important to develop a continuous ICT learning culture among the city’s transformation drivers, sharing new developments and exploring emerging possibilities and approaches. Bodies such as the Smart Africa Alliance create platforms to share best practices.
5. Long-term partnerships
Broad engagement is vital when identifying and ranking the city’s pain points and stakeholders’ concerns. The smart, sustainable city value chain comprises several interconnected ICT layers: infrastructure, enablers, devices and applications. Within each of these layers, various stakeholders are involved. For example, consultation with appropriate stakeholders at the infrastructure and enabling layers can build awareness of the long-term business-case advantages for shared, standards-based infrastructure (as opposed to closed, vertical deployments). Therefore, the various stakeholders are a source of ideas and solutions that can help shape the overall vision.
Most African countries have commendable objectives of promoting technology development and creating ICT infrastructure, capability and skills to connect the unconnected and usher in the era of the internet of things. Their focus is on creating sustainable and smart cities, countries – and ultimately, continent.
This is aligned to Goal 11 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which specifically relates to sustainable cities and communities. As drivers of change, cities now have more and better technological tools at their disposal than ever before. Becoming smart and sustainable is not a one-off achievement, but rather a continuous journey requiring ongoing engagement, innovation and progress.
To ensure the best chance of success, those shaping the future of sustainable smart cities must lay a solid foundation for transformation, based on purpose-driven planning, networked governance structures, organizational capacity building, broad stakeholder engagement and effective long-term partnerships.
This will make the journey, with or without an actual driver, an interesting one.
NAIROBI — An environment expert has said Chinese know-how in renewable energy development could help generate clean and sustainable power in Africa, which is home to almost half the global population lacking access to electricity.
David Rodgers, a senior climate change specialist with the US-based foundation, Global Environment Facility, said China had made wind and solar power technologies, which used to be seen as luxuries, become affordable to the world.
“China’s approach of doing things in a big way has made the country become the leader in the world by availing affordable energy to the populations,” Rodgers said on Wednesday at the United Nations Environment Assembly in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
China is the world’s largest investor in renewables excluding large hydro, with its $102.9 billion in investment in 2015 representing more than one third of the global total, according to a report issued by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in late March.
The US was a distant second, with $44.1 billion(R691billion), followed by Japan ($36.2 billion) and Britain ($22.2 billion), the report shows.
The UNEP says Africa could be one of the most promising markets for renewal energy in the next decade due to its abundant solar, wind, biomass and geothermal resources.
Rodgers said Africa should harness these renewable energy resources to help it address power shortages.
“Africa must develop strong policies to enable them to adopt solar and wind power since the continent still do not have enough supply of energy.”
In this regard, he said China’s know-how in the renewable energy sector “should be transplanted into Africa.”
“China’s investment to help make distributed power a reality, coupled with support for proper policies, would be very helpful to help African countries achieve their goals for clean and sustainable power.”
Chinese companies have been supporting African countries in developing renewable energy, engaging in solar, hydro, wind and thermal projects.
Clean energy projects are part of ten major plans for China-Africa cooperation outlined by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a China-Africa forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa in early December last year. China will provide $60 billion of funding support for the plans.
People in rural areas in Africa suffer the most from power shortages. Rodgers believes renewable energy could play a role in alleviating the problem.
“It may not be necessary to build out the grid 100 percent when we now have technology, such as distributed power, solar PV, and wind that can be based in rural areas and in villages,” he said.
Tourism has proved to be one of the world’s fastest growing economic sectors, contributing significantly to the Gross Domestic Product of various nations.
Yet the potential of this sector as an instrument of helping bring peace to the world has not been fully exploited.
With international tourist arrivals totalling almost 1,2 billion last year and expected to reach 1,8 billion by 2030, such large numbers can be useful in spreading peace.
It is important that more than half of the 1,8 billion tourist arrivals by 2030 will be in emerging economies and developing countries.
More statistics from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) show that tourism is accounting for 10 percent of the global GDP, 30 percent of the world’s trade services and one in 11 jobs worldwide.
The above figures leave no doubt that tourism is an economic powerhouse that can be used to create opportunities to improve the people’s livelihoods.
More importantly, the huge number of travellers can be fully exploited to bring a word of peace among nations and open new public diplomacy fronts.
This is why the First World Conference on Tourism for Development held in Beijing, China, last week should be viewed as one of those important steps in opening new avenues for tourism.
The theme of the conference, “Tourism for Peace and Development” was a clear indication on the direction stakeholders want the sector to take.
That Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was part of the conference, which he officially opened, signified the importance of the tourism sector to China and the world at large.
And the speakers had a clear mission: without peace there is no tourism to talk about, so why not use tourism to create peace to ensure its survival?
Premier Li’s speech was an eye opener and one of the most important as it gave direction to the conference.
“There is need to make tourism a bond of peace,” was his message, “something that contributes to friendly exchanges and harmonious relations among the people to open and inclusive development”.
One of the solutions proffered by Premier Li was that countries and regions estranged in relations need to ease restrictions on personnel flows to allow cultural exchanges and “break the ice in bilateral exchanges”.
In Zimbabwe, tourism has managed to break the barriers with other nations and among the local people, effectively contributing to peace and economic development.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Dr Walter Mzembi attended the conference in Beijing where he spoke on tourism’s role in public diplomacy following decades of isolation by the West.
The early years of the millennium saw Western countries, not happy with the land reform, issue advisories to their citizens against travelling to Zimbabwe.
For nearly a decade, tourism in Zimbabwe was almost dead as the conflict with the Western countries continued.
Zimbabwe had been virtually ex-communicated from bodies such as the UNWTO due to non-payment of membership subscription as a result of the economic problems arising from its fallout with these countries over the agrarian reform.
Inflation last recorded in December 2008 was in excess of 240 million percent, the Zimbabwe dollar was in quadrillions to the US$ and the international media onslaught had virtually collapsed the Zimbabwe brand.
In February 2009, the Government of National Unity was formed and Dr Mzembi was appointed to the Tourism and Hospitality Industry portfolio.
What he said at the conference left many delegates with no doubt that tourism can indeed be a tool for peace.
And to quote him: “I immediately recognised the potential of people-to-people diplomatic potential of the tourism sector and how it would underwrite inter-state diplomacy going forward,” he said while addressing a session of the conference under theme “Tourism for Peace”.
Within a few months, Zimbabwe had regained its membership to bodies such as UNWTO, World Travel Tourism Council and the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (retosa).
It was also important that a public diplomatic offensive be launched and this set Dr Mzembi and his team on a worldwide tour.
The team reached out to leaders of countries that had imposed travel restrictive measures against Zimbabwe for the survival of tourism.
What followed the diplomatic efforts was a clean bill of travel first from Germany, then countries in the European Union, the United States and Japan.
People-to-people to diplomacy had won for Zimbabwe and the peace brought by the tourism actors ensure the country’s tourism sector would easily return to normal.
The ultimate destination of the diplomatic offensive was the co-hosting of the 20th session of the General Assembly of the UNWTO by Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2013.
In between, tourism diplomacy had seen Zimbabwe elected to the executive council of the UNWTO, got successive chairmanship of retosa, was two-time president of the African Travel Association and now second time chairperson of the UNWTO Commission for Africa.
Dr Mzembi was able to graphically describe the situation at the Beijing conference.
“Unfortunately, following the inception of our agrarian reform, the response of a section of the international community created near similar conditions to those that prevailed pre-1980 for tourism, similar to war conditions,” he said.
“The response in itself by the section of the international community was a failure of State diplomacy. Tourism then came to the rescue, refusing to be a victim of collateral damage arising out of the failure of State diplomacy.
“Tourism has a natural patent to soft power and it should be deployed in public and people-to-people diplomacy.”
Going forward, it is clear, and living in the era of terrorism, that it is not hard power alone that will defeat the scourge.
It is complementary action from soft power that will ultimately win because terrorism is conceived and transported in the mind.
Dr Mzembi provided useful insights to support this argument.
“It is an ideological mindset and the citizen diplomacy will overwhelm terror because you cannot ask seven billion people to stay at home — 1,2 billion people are already part of the travel revolution,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s tourism minister observed that no country is safe from the scourge of terror and, therefore, “an attack on humankind no matter how geographically remote or distant is an attack on us all”.
The terror problem is rampant and requires global solutions, he said. It also should not just deal with outcomes and symptoms, but go to the causes.
“What really causes terror?” he asked the delegates. “We must look critically at current sources of terror, that it is not a coincidence that they appear to be from collapsed States, arising out of interventions in internal matters of targeted regimes.
“There is a link also with the emerging current refuge crisis in Europe.”
As more people travel around the world, they must be treated as ambassadors of goodwill who bring an olive branch of peace to their hosts.
And the number is expected to increase exponentially in the next decade, considering that in 1950 there were just 25 million international travellers.
Tourism definitely has the capacity to fight poverty and build peaceful societies and the sector must fully contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 universal goals.
It was important that the conference in Beijing was all-inclusive, with UN representatives, government ministers and high level tourism officials from across the world attending.
Cape Town – The presence of delegations from 13 of the world’s leading clean technology clusters at Africa Utility Week, which is running at the Cape Town International Conference Centre from May 17-19, was held up on Tuesday as confirmation of the Mother City’s position as a leading green economic hub.
GreenCape said in a statement on Tuesday that it was hosting its International Cleantech Network (ICN) counterparts at the event, along with international business delegations from the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Belgium and Canada. The statement from the government-funded, industry-led initiative that supports the development of renewable energy in the province said this would reinforce the Western Cape’s position as the green economic hub of Africa.
With members in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa, the ICN is a platform for cross-regional green economic development that works with business, academia and government to create opportunities for investment in clean technologies.
“Africa Utility Week offers these ICN members and investors a unique opportunity to network with African power and water utility professionals and local service providers,” the GreenCape statement added.
It added that the visitors would meet Cape Town officials who were attending a workshop on ICN and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of the world’s megacities who are taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, of which Cape Town is an observer city.
Greencape quoted the Western Cape’s MEC for economic opportunities, Alan Winde, as saying: “The Western Cape government has set itself the goal of becoming the greenest region in Africa.”
To achieve this, he said, the municipality was working to create a conducive environment for private sector investment into this space, adding that GreenCape and its network had been exceptional partners in this regard.
Winde said that investments of more than R17 billion had been made in renewable energy projects in the Western Cape over the past five years, creating in excess of 2 000 jobs.
“Here in the Western Cape, we are producing and selling the energy of the future, and we are proud to share our successes with you through this event [Africa Utility Week]. Building a green energy economy is not only the right thing to do. In the Western Cape, it now also makes business sense.”
In addition to the investments in renewable energy, GreenCape said, R680m of direct investments had been made in the proposed Atlantis GreenTech Special Economic Zone over the past five years.