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The Promise of Paris – Climate change is creating business opportunities

African countries can meet climate targets promised in the landmark Paris Agreement by catalyzing trillions of dollars in private investments through a combination of smart policy reforms and innovative business models, according to a new report b a member of the World Bank Group.

The report identifies seven industry sectors that can make a crucial difference in catalyzing private investment: renewable energy, off-grid solar and energy storage, agribusiness, green buildings, urban transportation, water, and urban waste management. Already, more than $1 trillion (R15 trillion) in investments are flowing into climate-related projects in these areas. But trillions more could be triggered by creating the right business conditions in emerging markets, the report found.

“The private sector holds the key to fighting climate change,” said IFC CEO Philippe Le Houérou. “The private sector has the innovation, the financing, and the tools. We can help unlock more private sector investment, but this also requires government reforms as well as innovative business models—which together will create new markets and attract the necessary investment. This can fulfill the promise of Paris.”

IFC’s Creating Markets for Climate Business report offers several examples of such an approach. Zambia was experiencing daily blackouts, stemming from drought that had crippled its hydroelectric capacity, when it became the first country to sign up for Scaling Solar in 2015. The government aims to build two large solar plants as part of its long-term strategy to generate 600 MW from solar. Johannesburg Water demonstrated how PPPs can succeed in meeting development and climate objectives in the water sector. The municipality set out to establish a privately-operated utility in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2000, when city water and sanitation services were facing bankruptcy. It has since installed biogas-to-electricity generation in several wastewater facilities. Biogas scrubbing and combined heat and power cogeneration projects were installed in 2012.

Saleem Karimjee, IFC Country Manager for Southern Africa, said, “African private businesses have the opportunity to become regional and global leaders in promoting climate-friendly projects. New approaches to business can unlock significant funds for climate finance that IFC and other lenders are eager to support.”

The report’s findings point to specific investment opportunities including:

Renewable energy investments could climb to R115 trillion cumulative by 2040—reforms such as renewable energy auctions, land title reforms, and supportive energy storage policy frameworks would make this possible.

Investments in off-grid solar and energy storage can reach $23 billion (R115 trillion) a year by 2025—if countries use differentiated tariffs, clear technical and safety standards, and targeted financial incentives while supporting new business models for community based solar such as Pay-as-You-Go and innovative finance solutions such as asset securitization.

Trillions of dollars of agribusiness investment can become more “climate-smart”—if governments ensure property rights, good transportation infrastructure, and regulations and fiscal policies that encourage climate-smart investment while promoting improved farmer-training practices and using financial innovation to provide working capital for farmers.Investments in green buildings could reach $3.4 trillion (R51 trillion) cumulative by 2025 in key emerging markets—if countries adopt better building codes and standards and create targeted financial incentives such as green-building certification and mandatory benchmarking of energy use. Other important reforms should encourage new utility business models, such as green mortgages and energy service companies.

Trillions of dollars in investments in sustainable urban transportation can be mobilized in the coming decade—if governments issue mandates to enable infrastructure investments and adopt municipal transit plans that can spur innovations, such as light rail.

Investments in water supply and sanitation could exceed $13 trillion (R195 trillion) cumulative by 2030—for this governments would need to establish water pricing at predictable and sustainable levels to increase the creditworthiness of utilities while entering into public-private partnerships and adopting performance-based contracts.

Investments in climate-smart urban waste management could reach $2 trillion—if cities work to attract private sector participation through improved regulatory and enforcement frameworks, using economic incentives and cost-recovery mechanisms such as feed-in tariffs, and driving waste-conscious consumer behavior.

Addressing climate change is a strategic priority for IFC. Since 2005, IFC has invested $18.3 billion (R195 trillion) of its own funds in long-term financing for climate-smart projects and mobilized an additional $11 billion from other investors. The latest report is a follow-up to the Climate Investment Opportunities report issued by IFC last year, which found that the Paris Agreement could create $23 trillion in investment opportunities for 21 emerging-market countries.

Source: energyforecastonline

Web TV aims to boost youth interest in African farming

Ouagadougou – With the logo of his internet TV station on his black T-shirt, Inoussa Maiga energetically plucks corn stalks in northern Burkina Faso for a programme on farming in Africa.

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Maiga, 30, launched Agribusiness TV in May in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou, determined to change poor opinions about agricultural work held by African youth and to help develop the continent.

“All those who went to school up to a certain level consider going back to the land as a failure, as something demeaning. Yet and we see it every day in our broadcasts, there are many opportunities for young people,” he says.

In Bagre, 245 kilometres (150 miles) north of the city, Maiga has found one of the unusual topics he likes to promote: a teacher who gives classes in maths while raising pigs and growing maize, rice and groundnuts.

Other characteristic subjects are a woman in Benin with a degree in banking and finance who works in a “man’s universe of crop production” and an inventor of helpful machines for agricultural cooperatives in Togo.

The TV channel, available on the web and mobile phones, has steadily garnered a network of correspondents in Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mali and Togo, with Mauritius next on the agenda.

‘Maximum age of 40

The editorial stance of Agribusiness TV has clear rules.

Features focus on people of “a maximum age of 40” who have a “pretty interesting” background in farming, stock-breeding and other “different links in the food chain”, Maiga explains.

Programmes can cover “food processing, green jobs, everything related to the environment and the business of sustainable agriculture”.

“We want people whose careers can inspire other people,” says the broadcaster, who set up the enterprise with his wife Nawsheen Hosenally.

Himself the son of a peasant farmer, Inoussa studied at the University of Ouagadougou, where he specialised in communications for development before founding Agribusiness TV.

He seeks “above all to showcase young Africans who are courageously committed to agriculture, who invest in the area, and possibly to bring a different outlook among young Africans to this sector,” he says, calling it “the motor for the development of African economies”.

‘Massive youth unemployment’

“When you look at the economic structure of our countries, you see that it’s in agriculture where one can create the most jobs and fight massive youth unemployment,” adds Inoussa.

“We want to spotlight young people who are doing interesting things. We seek to motivate and encourage those who would like to start out in agriculture. May this inspire them!”

Inoussa’s work won support from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), a joint institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states and the European Union.

The CTA provided funding worth 58 000 euros ($65 000) to help launch Agribusiness TV. Inoussa came up with a further 65 000 euros from his own communications firm.

Hosenally also works full time on the channel. She translates material into English and deals with technical aspects of putting broadcasts online and managing social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

The founders surpassed their aims during the first year, with 45 000 fans on Facebook and about 800 000 viewers for their broadcasts. The website is bilingual, full of videos and a blog.

But on a continent where internet access remains patchy, the founders of Agribusiness TV are happy to make their videos available to various associations to be shown in rural settings.

“We project videos ourselves when we’re invited to conferences or meetings with players in the rural world,” says Inoussa, who hopes that his channel will benefit from the gradual progress of the internet in Africa.

“Every day, at least 15 people get in touch with us asking for the contact details of such and such an entrepreneur to whom we devoted a video,” Hosenally says.

“We’re also encouraged by the messages and the comments we receive each day,” adds Inoussa.

“These are videos that inspire people, we get a lot of feedback from the entrepreneurs we meet. Some of them tell us about contracts they have signed thanks to our work.

“All this gives hope.”

Agribusiness TV is available in French and English on dedicated apps for smartphone at www.agribusinesstv.info.
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Source: news24


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Mining industry must lead the transformation charge

WE SEEM to have missed the opportunity to learn from the Marikana crisis as a wake-up call to address the structural problems in our society.

Dark clouds gathering over the mining industry reflect the depth of the looming crisis resulting from our failure to create a growing and inclusive economy. The response of the industry to the pressure on its uncompetitive “low skill, low wage” operating model, worsened considerably by Eskom’s inability to provide reliable power, could make or break the industry and take the rest of the economy with it.

Retrenchments might be seen as inevitable but the spillover effects could be disastrous. The despair of those caught up in poverty, unemployment and inequality is mounting and is likely to lead to robust resistance to any move to retrench the breadwinners of large extended families.

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There would be no winners in the death dance that could break out under such circumstances between the private sector, the trade union movement and the government. What is needed are tough conversations about how we can work together to address the root causes of our socioeconomic problems. Such conversations should lead to a new social compact on transformation that lays the framework for drawing up industry-by-industry action plans with short-, medium-and long-term goals and targets.

The mining industry is ripe for such discussions to guide the drastic action its leaders know they have to take to stay alive. The looming wage negotiations should be used as a platform for union and mine leaders as well as the government to discuss the transformation of the industry into a more sustainable and competitive one.

The first principle should be putting the preservation of the livelihoods and wellbeing of workers at the centre. The latter requires creative modelling of the size and shape of skills needed for a “high skill, high wage” competitive industry. These would need to be fine-tuned at company level, taking into account the characteristics of each resource sector. Matching the profile of the existing workforce with that of the desired size and shape would yield a picture of the extent of the restructuring needed.

Those not fitting the new model should be given new opportunities that would leave them no worse-off economically. There are pilot models that hold promise for linking the urban-rural nexus that many mineworkers have to negotiate as migrants. Viable agribusinesses, protective-clothing manufacturing and other services can be developed into sustainable businesses in the home areas of those affected.

There is much we can learn from Brazil about the value agribusiness can add to the economy. We have the opportunity to turn our vast underutilised land resources into a platform to develop a strong farming industry. High-value food crops, such as soya, sunflowers and nuts, as well as high nutrition-value vegetables, such as mushrooms, spinach and berries, could transform the rural and periurban landscape.

Fibre crops such as sisal, flax and hemp that generate significant jobs along the value chain, from cultivation to processing, are highly suitable for the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and other areas.

Our natural, mineral and human resources could be recombined in ways that produce higher economic value and shared prosperity for all.

The government has a major role to play in the industry to partner private sector incubators/accelerators that nurture and grow entrepreneurs. Pooling funds from the Industrial Development Corporation, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Land Bank and the Jobs Fund, as well as collaboration with the departments of rural development and agriculture, could unlock huge value.

Collective effort is needed to transform poor provinces such as the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga into vibrant food baskets. This would significantly contribute to meeting our land-reform and job-creation goals.

The second principle would be to give those affected by silicosis, tuberculosis and HIV, estimated in a study in 2012 to be 25% of the workforce, the first shot at the opportunity to get out of harm’s way without losing their livelihoods. Linked to this must be agreement on the settlement of outstanding occupational diseases’ claims to free the industry of the high-liability risk profile that hangs over its attractiveness to investors.

A 2009 study indicated about 288,000 workers with silicosis had laid claims of R10bn. The industry’s approach of literally fighting poor, unskilled miners to the death as a way of avoiding the flood of claims is not only ethically wrong, it hurts the industry’s image. Investor sentiment is not neutral to this issue.

The third principle is to commit to investing in skills development to migrate the industry to a high-skills operating model and increase productivity and competitiveness. The focus must be on-the-job training for new entrants to make the transformation needed industry-wide.

Collaboration within the industry, between the industry and vocational colleges, with the government providing incentives and removing bureaucratic barriers to pools of funds, is essential to success.

Using the National Skills Fund, the Jobs Fund and black economic empowerment scorecard points for skills development could work magic in moving us up the skill and productivity ladder. We should learn from the decades-old successful German artisan training scheme, including the development of skilled master tradespeople, who are essential for carrying out highly specialised tasks that unlock productivity.

The mining industry is the appropriate spearhead for transforming our socioeconomic landscape. It is a significant contributor to gross domestic product and generates 1-million jobs, 500,000 directly. It contributes R78bn to the wage bill and R17bn to the tax base. It produces 94% of the feedstock for electricity generation, while it consumes 15% of our energy pool. It also has a historic mission to contribute to socioeconomic transformation. It was the foundation on which our economy was built and it pretty much shaped the nature of urbanisation and industrialisation.

It now has to rise to the challenge and opportunity to once more lead the charge. The odds may seem against it but that is precisely what history’s magic moments are made of — turning moments of crises into opportunities for greatness. The industry is sitting on a treasure trove of reserves and talented leadership that has proven its mettle in tough times. It is time to leverage all these strengths to tackle the challenges.

The workers, the nation and the world are waiting with bated breath for that magic moment to lift the dark clouds hanging over us. We have been here before. Yet, in 1994, we came together to surprise ourselves and the world. We can do it again and complete the journey of transformation.

Source: bdlive


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