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.