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National development is South Africa’s priority

Co-ordinating, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) is at the top of his department’s priorities, according to Jeff Radebe, the planning, monitoring and evaluation minister in the Presidency.The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation was committed to institutionalising long-term planning, building on its five years’ experience since it was established, he said on 5 May before tabling his department’s budget vote.It was pleased with the work it had done so far.

Operation Phakisa

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Since the launch of Operation Phakisa, the first project focusing on the ocean’s economy, key initiatives had been identified to realise the immense potential of the ocean’s economy to contribute to radical economic transformation, Radebe said.”Progress made since the launch of the Ocean’s Economy Operation Phakisa includes commitment of R7-billion of public sector investment in our ports by Transnet Ports Authority, amongst other investments made.”Construction of a new berth in Saldana Bay had been started, and progress could also be seen in the extension of the Mossgas Quay and the refurbishment of the Offshore Supply Base, valued at R9.2-billion of public and private investment.The Department of Trade and Industry had also designated that working vessels must meet a 60% local content target. “The Treasury Instruction Note issued will ensure compliance with this in all tenders,” said the minister.Various aquaculture projects had been launched, he said, that were benefiting many rural communities by enabling them to make a living from the seas and inland fresh water reserves.”Furthermore, the Department of Higher Education and Training has developed skills implementation plans aligned with these initiatives… To this end, the South African International Maritime Institute has been identified as the institution that would facilitate maritime skills development, with the support [of the education department].”

Health and mining

The second Operation Phakisa initiative introduced in 2014 focused on improving the quality of services in primary health care, said Radebe. A detailed plan for improving service delivery in public sector clinics in all provinces had been developed and approved by the National Health Council.”We call this the Ideal Clinic initiative. It was undertaken in collaboration with provinces, districts, clinic managers as well as the private sector and non-profit sector,” he said.”Operation Phakisa Labs will also be conducted in the mining and education sectors.” In the former, the focus would be on increasing investment, transforming the sector and improving mineral beneficiation to drive radical economic transformation.In education, the focus would be on an information and communication technology approach to enhancing basic education.

National Youth Policy

Deputy Minister Buti Manamela would explain the youth aspects in detail in the Budget Vote Speech, Radebe said. His department has a mandate to mainstream, provide oversight and lead the government’s efforts on youth development.”We have taken a different approach to tackling youth issues and we have gotten rid of [the] government’s approach to youth issues whereby we would ask them what they think, ignore what they say and do as we want, and adopted a new approach of consultation,” Radebe said.Manamela recently held several consultative meetings with youth across the country regarding the National Youth Policy (NYP) 2020. These culminated in the NYP 2020 Consultative Conference in March, which resulted in the inclusion of one more pillar to the four that existed initially.”When we commenced with the consultative process of the NYP 2020, we initially had four pillars of the policy comprising skills and education, economic inclusion and participation, health and well-being of young people, and nation building and social cohesion.”Through the inputs received from the youth through this consultative process that took place, we have included another pillar to form part of the policy, which is building youth machinery for effective delivery and responsiveness.”Inputs from the NYP 2020 conference were being finalised and would be adopted during Youth Month, in June. He said the policy would then guide the drafting of the integrated youth development strategy, which will be the blueprint for radically spearheading youth development against the backdrop of lack of skills and high unemployment.”The [Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation] will monitor the implementation of the policy and its impact. As we finalise the youth policy… we give meaning to it by championing the development of the youth who are future leaders of this country,” Radebe said.”Thus, by prioritising youth development through education, entrepreneurship and job creation, it will be both a tribute to the Freedom Charter as well as to the future of our country.”

Source: SAnews.gov


 

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Harnessing market forces to drive innovation towards sustainability is the only way to redirect the planet away from its current cataclysmic path and the wheels are already in motion. How do we harness the market to a significantly greater de- gree to drive SA towards the green economy – is the key question this session will seek to answer.
Harnessing market forces to drive innovation towards sustainability is the only way to redirect the planet away from its current cataclysmic path and the wheels are already in motion. How do we harness the market to a significantly greater de- gree to drive SA towards the green economy – is the key question this session will seek to answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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SA ‘not ready for carbon tax’

South Africa isn’t ready to launch a carbon tax because there are insufficient alternatives to fossil fuel energy, a City of Tshwane official said.

“Ninety-five percent of our energy requirement is still very much fossil fuel-based,” Dorah Nteo, the chief sustainability specialist for the municipality, said this week. “We have not allowed the infiltration of enough renewable” power sources, she said.

A proposed carbon tax would be delayed from this year to 2016 to allow time for public consultation and the drafting of legislation, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan said in 2014. Draft legislation on the levy will be published later this year, his successor, Nhlanhla Nene, said in his budget.

Eskom is struggling to meet demand with aging plants following years of underinvestment. While the department of energy has approved 79 renewable power projects from private companies with a capacity of 5 243MW, Eskom is also building two coal-fired power plants with a potential combined output of 9 564MW.

“A carbon tax can play a role in achieving the transition to a low carbon economy and South Africa’s commitment to help in the international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the committee said in April.

“These commitments and aspirations should also take into account any possible negative economic and social impacts of the carbon tax.

“What has been introduced effectively is the fuel levy for your motor vehicles, rather than your broader carbon tax,” Nteo said. “That is because with cars you have a choice between big cars or small ones, there are alternatives.”

Source: The Citizen


Harnessing market forces to drive innovation towards sustainability is the only way to redirect the planet away from its current cataclysmic path and the wheels are already in motion. How do we harness the market to a significantly greater de- gree to drive SA towards the green economy – is the key question this session will seek to answer.
Harnessing market forces to drive innovation towards sustainability is the only way to redirect the planet away from its current cataclysmic path and the wheels are already in motion. How do we harness the market to a significantly greater de- gree to drive SA towards the green economy – is the key question this session will seek to answer.

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Young SA scientists called to enter Green Talents 2015

South Africa’s most ambitious young scientists with an interest in sustainability research are being invited to take part in the international 2015 Green Talents Competition which offers the opportunity for its winners to promote their research in Germany and be granted unique access to the elite of the country’s sustainability research field.

With 2015 named the “City of the Future” Science Year, organisers of the Green Talents competition have announced that they particularly welcome submissions relating to this topic. The competition is however still open to all fields and offers equal chances to win. The deadline for submission is 2 June 2015, 12 p.m. CET.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has held the prestigious ”Green Talents – International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development” since 2009 to promote the international exchange of innovative green ideas. The award, under the patronage of Minister Professor Johanna Wanka, honours 25 young researchers each year. The winners come from numerous countries and scientific disciplines and are recognised for their outstanding achievements in making our societies more sustainable. Selected by a high-ranking jury of German experts the award-winners are granted unique access to the country’s research elite.

The 25 Green Talents 2015 will be selected by a high-ranking jury of German experts.

The prestigious 2015 award includes an invitation to visit Germany later in the year to participate in the fully funded two-week science forum. While touring Germany, the award-winners will have access to top science and research institutions that will offer unique insights into their work.

Award-winners will also be granted a chance to present themselves and their work in person during individual appointments with experts of their choice (during the two-week science forum).

A fully funded research stay of up to three months will be offered at an institution of the award-winner´s choice in 2016. Additionally, the Green Talents of 2015 will gain exclusive access to the “Green Talents Alumni Network” of 130 high-achievers in sustainable development from over 40 countries.

Sustainable development has been defined by the competition organisers as leading an environmentally friendly life in a way that conserves resources. This is essential to preserve our world for subsequent generations and particularly important in enabling our cities to overcome the challenges ahead. With its top innovation and research centres, Germany supports these efforts in particular by intensifying international cooperation among the bright young minds of tomorrow.

Those wishing to enter the competition must satisfy the requirements that they:

• Are enrolled in a Master’s programme or have completed higher academic degrees (Master/PhD) with significantly above-average grades at the time of application.
• Have an excellent command of English
• B Be a non-German citizen and reside outside of Germany. Not eligible to apply are German passport holders as well as anyone living in Germany at the time of application (even if the residence is limited in time).

Applicants need to register on at www.greentalents.de.

Source: All Africa


 

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SAB launches three enterprise development initiatives

The South African Breweries (SAB) has evolved its 20-year old youth entrepreneurship programme, SAB KickStart, expanding it into three enterprise development initiatives. The three programmes are SAB KickStart Ignite, SAB KickStart Boost and SAB KickStart Elevate, each targeting youth-owned businesses with different areas of focus and at varying stages of operation.

This three-pronged approach and commitment to enterprise development is aimed at supporting the emergence of strong and sustainable businesses able to make a

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valuable contribution to the country’s economic transformation. This will be done by providing a combination of support including business skills training, business development support, mentorship and grant capital, as well as low interest seed capital loans in the case of SAB KickStart Boost and SAB KickStart Elevate.

“Since its establishment in May 1995, SAB KickStart has evolved into one of South Africa’s leading and most respected youth entrepreneurship development initiatives facilitated within the private sector. The new SAB KickStart model, we believe, will move the company’s support of small youth-owned businesses further in alignment with the country’s national objectives and goals to make more jobs available and encourage sustainable entrepreneurship as its driving force,” says Mpho Sadiki, SAB Head Sustainable Development and Transformation.

Some of the SAB KickStart’s  successes over 20 years include supporting, at a total investment of over R90m, 24,558 entrepreneurs and the creation of 3,458 youth-owned businesses  which have each created an average of 6.7 jobs.

The three new programmes are aimed at building onto the strengths and successes of SAB KickStart.

SAB KickStart Ignite will target those young entrepreneurial makers of innovative products or services, and who through support from the programme, including incubation, grant funding and business support, can act as a pipeline for SAB KickStart Boost.

SAB KickStart Boost will support and grow youth businesses within key local industries that have the ability to create high volumes of jobs. Eligible participants will be exposed to a combination of business training, business development support and mentorship, low-interest loan funding and grant funding.

The core SAB KickStart Boost industries are those identified at a national level by government as having the greatest potential to create jobs at the level required to lower the country’s unemployment rate, include Agriculture and Food Processing, Renewable Energy, Mining and Minerals and Construction.

The third tier in the enterprise development model, SAB KickStart Elevate, is aimed at young established businesses requiring further acceleration in order to become suppliers to big business in South African through a combination of business development support, mentorship, competitive, non-collateral and low interest loans offered by the programme.

SAB KickStart Boost open for entry

Entries into SAB KickStart Boost have opened and eligible young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 are invited to apply. Participation of businesses in SAB KickStart Boost is dependent on several factors including:

  • Aligned with core industries and sectors (Agriculture and Food Processing, Renewable Energy, Mining and Minerals, Construction, Health, ICT, Science and Electronics, Automotive, Transport, Chemicals, Plastics, Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics, Tourism, Arts and Crafts, Metal Fabrication, Textiles, Clothing and Footwear)
  • Operational for a minimum of 18 months and not more than 5 years
  • Post revenue stage (sales made and concept proven)
  • Generating less than R5m in revenue per annum
  • Employ a maximum of 15 employees (temporary or fulltime or a combination)
  • At least 50% black owned and managed
  • High growth potential that is scalable, with a sustainable competitive advantage

The top 60 entrants will be shortlisted at regional level and undertake an intensive course of business training to increase technical skills and business knowledge. The national finalists are selected and each will have a business growth strategy developed for them which their 12 month mentorship will be based on.

The national finalists will be provided with a combination of grant and loan funds which SAB believes will equip businesses with the necessary skills to operate within a larger sphere of capital markets, as well as encourage financial independence amongst entrepreneurs.

“The purpose of loan funding is not to burden the entrepreneur but to assist them to leverage alternative forms of capital to achieve their business objectives.  Furthermore, they have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to manage loan capital, an important aspect of running a business,” says Sadiki.

 

Source: Cape Business News


 

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Carbon tax to hurt growth, socio-political stability and exacerbate unemployment

The carbon tax will have a serious negative impact on the goods-producing sectors of the economy, particularly mining, manufacturing and agri-processing by making the country less competitive in the global economy.

Econometrix submitted a report on the 2013 update to the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for Electricity, IRP 2010 to 2030.

We have updated the report and it spells out the damage the carbon tax would do to the local economy. Included in the report is comment on the futility of introducing a carbon tax or any other envisioned carbon tax-trading scheme.

The intervening period has only reinforced these views.

The facts to back this up include: the failure of such schemes in Europe and elsewhere, the false promises by most leading nations regarding the real steps they will take to mitigate carbon emissions and that there has been no real decline in carbon emissions during this period.

The exception to this has been the US, where greater use of gas has led to a slowdown in their growth in carbon emissions.

Environmental concerns

The annual growth increase of China’s carbon emissions has been 520 million tons a year over a ten-year period compared to South Africa’s total annual carbon emissions of 440 million tons in 2013.

A saving of 20 percent in South Africa would amount to 88 million tons but India’s annual growth in carbon emissions over ten years exceeds 90 million tons a year.

Any decline in the growth of carbon emissions in China and India is unlikely in the period up to 2030 as they continue to pursue economic growth.

Furthermore, the argument regarding global warming has changed considerably over the pastfew years. The global temperature has not increased materially for more than 18 years.

Econometrix is not an expert in this field but it would appear that there are extremely strong arguments and indications that the impact of man-made global warming has been vastly exaggerated. Certainly, South Africa should not be leading the pack in curbing its own carbon emissions at substantial economic and personal cost when the rest of the world is flagrantly disregarding the same set of rules. This is particularly true when South Africa’s likely contribution to any reduction in carbon emissions will be less than measurable.

Passing on costs

A carbon tax will increase the costs of electricity and the products of many important industries. These costs will be passed on through price increases to business and consumers. Downstream business and industry will be faced with these increased costs and will in turn pass these costs on to its consumers.

Certain industries will be faced with a carbon tax of their own and in turn their increased electricity costs and carbon tax costs will also be passed on to their consumers and users of their product.

Ultimately, demand will decline as the price increases faced by consumers will reduce their disposable income. In the case of export industries trading in the global competitive market they will either face a decline in demand and/or reduced prices with resulting lower returns. In turn, imports would become more competitive and import sensitive industries would suffer.

The complex impacts of unnecessary real price increases would result in a further deterioration in the current account of the balance of payments, already at an excessively high level.

Furthermore, there would be a decline in the return on investment of the affected business and real investment would decline. At present, it is already running at below required levels capable of sustaining an acceptable economic growth rate.

Each industry would need to be examined on its merits. An example of the damage it could cause would be the motor vehicle industry. Current exports total more than R100 billion an annum and total employment exceeds 100 000. The competitive damage to this industry alone could be significant.

Economic impact

Econometrix has calculated the economic impacts of these effects. The carbon tax would slow gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 0.4 percent a year, resulting in a 6.5 percent reduction in the size of GDP by 2030, or R350bn, and a reduction of almost 1.4 million in the number of jobs available.

The number of dependents affected is therefore estimated at almost 5 million. This is a sizeable effect on an economy with a population estimated to be approaching 70 million by 2030.

Significantly, it will reduce the cumulative taxes collected by 2030 by R750bn due to the slower growth. It will require a large and costly bureaucracy to run this complex, cumbersome and highly inefficient tax. The reduction in taxes is likely to be greater than the net taxes that will be collected.

Overseas experience

The argument that the tax will be neutral because this money will be funnelled back to develop the green economy must be treated with great suspicion.

There are a number of economic arguments that strongly suggest that this will not be the case.

It amounts to a tax on existing industries and effectively a subsidy for new ventures many of which are less efficient with higher cost structures.

It consequently will foster higher costs and inflation. Bureaucracy is not the best means of fostering economic efficiency.

This is the task of market forces in order to develop a more efficient and effective economy. The experience overseas supports this argument. For example, there are substantial question marks regarding the policy and Germany’s “Energiewende” is a well-documented case in point.

Electricity prices there are the highest in Europe because of the move to renewables and that the development of the new transmission grid has fallen well behind schedule resulting in localised rolling power cuts and has required substantial unforeseen investment.

As a result, certain key electricity-intensive industries are considering moving to the US.

It is worth noting that Germany is in the process of building a number of coal-fired power stations to correct the imbalance that renewables have caused for electricity supply.

Finally, carbon tax and higher prices of the large input cost increases from electricity price increases runs contrary to the country’s own beneficiation policies, where some companies are now expanding elsewhere because of the non-competitive electricity costs in this country. It is noteworthy that one of South Africa’s key global competitors, Australia, has scrapped plans to introduce such a scheme.

Damage to potential

Econometrix has recently estimated that South Africa should, with the correct policies and adequate and secure electricity growth, have a potential sustainable growth rate of GDP of 4.1 percent a year.

As a result of a number of policy issues, insufficient security of supply and non-competitive prices of electricity, the carbon tax and the switch to more costly renewables and other investment adverse policies, the sustainable GDP growth of South Africa is unlikely to exceed 2.5 percent a year .

This will have a detrimental impact on the country’s goods producing industries, particularly mining, mining beneficiation, manufacturing and its agri-processing sectors.

By 2030, this would result in GDP being R1.4 trillion less than what should be achieved, while employment levels could be roughly 5 million lower than the levels actually possible and required.

Carbon tax will play a substantial role in this poor economic performance, which will have a detrimental effect on the standard of living, unemployment and the social and political structure of South Africa.

More particularly it would make the country’s important goods-producing sector less competitive.

This will cause further structural problems for the current account of the balance of payment, which already has a substantial deficit.

In the latest global competitiveness report, out of 144 countries, South Africa has fallen to 113th in terms of its labour market efficiency, 89th on its macroeconomic environment and has fallen 11 places to 56th in the overall competitiveness index.

The carbon tax will only exacerbate these trends. Most importantly it will more than likely result in a further deterioration in South Africa’s sovereign rating with serious consequences to South Africa’s cost of capital, ability to raise capital and its ability to attract foreign investment.

Rob Jeffrey, is the managing director and senior economist of Econometrix

Source: IOL


 

Harnessing market forces to drive innovation towards sustainability is the only way to redirect the planet away from its current cataclysmic path and the wheels are already in motion. How do we harness the market to a significantly greater de- gree to drive SA towards the green economy – is the key question this session will seek to answer.
Harnessing market forces to drive innovation towards sustainability is the only way to redirect the planet away from its current cataclysmic path and the wheels are already in motion. How do we harness the market to a significantly greater de- gree to drive SA towards the green economy – is the key question this session will seek to answer.

 

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GreenOvation a platform to showcase green innovation

The Alchemist PR and TEVA Windows have partnered with Finweek and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) SA to produce the country’s first publication of its kind, GreenOvation, as well as the GreenOvation Awards initiative.
Set for release during Sustainability Week – which will be hosted in Johannesburg in the last week of June – GreenOvation is also intended as a tool for attracting investment in the big ideas, the simple yet innovative solutions which need a financial kick-start.

“We are looking for companies and individuals who have either funded or developed sustainable solutions which offer direct benefit to the local community, enhances access to clean running water, or energy-efficient innovation to participate in the publication to be nominated for awards,” says Diane Naidoo-Ngcese, MD of The Alchemist PR.

Categories for entry as well as editorial submission include innovation in:

  • Energy
  • Water
  • Agriculture
  • Transport and logistics
  • Manufacturing
  • Education and youth development
  • Architecture and construction
  • Design and production – advertising and print houses
  • Retail

“Sustainability is often wrongly perceived as a white middle class issue when in reality, the consequences of not going green has a dire impact on the working class. The cost of electricity, the access to clean running water, the overall improvement in the quality of life makes sustainability a non-negotiable if South Africa is to truly offer a better life for all,” comments Naidoo-Ngcese.

Financing options available

Funding institutions such as the Industrial Development Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa are among a host of financing options available for green initiatives. The SA Green Fund alone has a budget of R800m for projects to assist South Africa’s transition to a low carbon economy.

But the innovators and game-changers in this space are either unaware of the funding options or do not have the capacity to create the exposure required to attract the attention of investors. “Green good news stories and projects undertaken through CSI programmes are relegated to internal newsletters, annual reports or corporate presentations, and young entrepreneurs ideas remain ideas. And yet the green economy would be fast-tracked if these ideas were transitioned to a profitable business model that creates jobs and bolster the local economy,” Naidoo-Ngcese says.

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The critical issue, as in most emerging markets, is the challenge of access to information and education. When mobile phones entered the local market, the campaign to stimulate demand was driven by big marketing budgets. This is not the case with sustainability.

Community buy-in

“When I started my business nine years ago, consumers did not quite understand what energy-efficient windows and doors were, how they worked or the financial benefits these products represent hold. If the movement for sustainability had access to ad-spend of big global brands, we would see greater community buy-in,” managing director of TEVA Windows, Pieter Malherbe, says.

He says GreenOvation is one small step in ensuring sustainability becomes a mainstream issue which garners mass support, as communities, business and as government. He also believes that if the private sector throws their weight behind this initiative, it will also assist young aspirant entrepreneurs like him to ‘connect the dots between innovation, enterprise development, job creation and the development of the green economy’.

WWF SA has come on board as editorial advisors for the publication, with Saliem Fakir, head of the Living Planet Unit at WWF, to serve on the awards judging panel along with Miss Earth 2004, Catherine Constantinides.

Source: Bizcommunity

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Behaviour change needed to tackle waste management

Currently, only 10% of waste in South Africa is recycled. As our population grows, so the increase of waste generated highlights the inadequate nature of existing waste management services – leading to an increasingly polluted environment in which South African’s are forced to live.

During the Johannesburg Waste Summit recently, Mayor of Johannesburg Parks Tau said: “By collaborating with stakeholders we are working to make Johannesburg a resilient, sustainable and liveable city. Waste management is a big problem in our city and through this summit we hope all stakeholders will come together to look at ways to transform how we deal with waste in the city.”

Johannesburg residents were also encouraged by the Mayor to generate less by reusing waste, and separating it at source to facilitate recycling. The Mayor also highlighted the necessity of looking at other waste management trends and assisting with the establishment of cooperatives to drive the collection of waste and recyclables.

REDISA (Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa), through the Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan (IITWTMP) is setting the trend – having already found that there is worth in waste and is realising the value in waste tyres specifically.

According to the Green Jobs Report from the Industrial Development Corporation,  South Africa’s green economy could create 460 000 new jobs by 2025. With the unemployment rate at an all-time high in South Africa, and government looking for new ways to create job opportunities, it’s vitally important that private enterprise creates a new breed of entrepreneurs. While the informal sector has managed to put bread on the table for many South Africans, there is a clear demand for more innovation and skills in the entrepreneurship sphere.

REDISA is making significant headway towards ensuring that South Africa is clear of all tyre waste and in the process is assisting with government’s mandate of creating jobs. Currently this is being achieved through the development of infrastructure required to collect waste tyres from across South Africa and delivering them to approved recyclers – for the first time guaranteeing a consistent supply of raw material essential for the successful development of the new formalised recycling industry.

REDISA believes that one must recognise the importance of entrepreneurship as an economic driver and poverty eradicator.  “What we need to be focusing on is pairing both entrepreneurial spirit and finding solutions to the many challenges and problems that we face as a country and a continent. We should also particularly recognise the opportunities which lie in our own industry, the green economy, for all those who are able to create and identify sustainable solutions and reduce our carbon footprint in the world, “says Davidson.

As part of contributing to the growth and development of the country, REDISA is building a viable and sustainable waste management industry, focusing on tyre recycling initially and educating communities about turning waste into worth. By changing the country’s mind set, waste will be recognised as a sustainable resource for economic development and sustainability.

In the coming months the REDISA team will continue to meet and converse with entrepreneurs to discuss solutions to the many challenges being faced in terms of developing these new small business owners.  REDISA aims to create a true balance between government requirements, environmental sustainability and industry ambition, through its waste management system by contributing to the economy and creating jobs in the process.

Source: Africa Environment


 

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SA gets Climate Innovation Centre

The Innovation Hub yesterday opened its Climate Innovation Centre (CIC), in partnership with the World Bank’s InfoDev programme for supporting entrepreneurs.

The CIC is a strategic green economy initiative founded through collaboration between the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, The Innovation Hub and InfoDev.

The centre will facilitate the development of technologies to reduce the environmental impact of the South African economy, said McLean Sibanda, CEO of The Innovation Hub.

It will provide environment-focused entrepreneurs with the resources they need, such as financing, technical and business advisory and information services, and facilities such as office space and connections with laboratories, Sibanda explained.

The CIC will form part of a network of locally-owned climate innovation centres in seven countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and Vietnam.

In linking the CICs together, their benefit increases “many folds”, as countries can exchange information and link their markets, said Jonathan Cooney, programme director of InfoDev’s Climate Technology Programme.

New opportunities

While climate change is a tremendous threat to countries around the world, it also represents tremendous opportunities for the development of new markets and technologies, said Cooney.

The Climate Technology Programme is designed to help developing and middle-income countries proactively pursue new technologies and the market opportunities they present, rather than wait for technologies to be transferred to them from more developed economies, Cooney explained.

He added that each country focuses on different solutions depending on their particular needs and context.

“To go to a country and say ‘these are the technologies you need’ is not the right approach. The people who know how best to solve the problems of a country are from that country,” he said.

SA challenges

In SA, the most pressing environmental concerns are energy, water and waste management, said Sibanda.

“One cannot start to talk about modernising the economy without looking at issues of energy and water.” SA needs to develop environmentally-minded technologies to meet the economy’s increasing energy demands, he noted, adding that converting the byproducts of waste into energy is an avenue worth consideration.

The centre will also focus on improving the quality of life in Gauteng’s townships by pursuing energy and waste management solutions in these areas, said Sibanda.

The CIC hosts its inaugural conference at The Innovation Hub in Pretoria this week.

Source: IT Web


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Eight amazing gains African nations can make by switching to a green economy

The potential to power growth sustainably is there. Policy makers must just rise to the challenge, a new UN report says

AS Africa looks to keep economic growth numbers healthy and improve the well-being of its citizens, many of its initiatives have understandably tended to follow those undertaken by industrialised countries.

The challenge increasingly has been to fund such steps, such as a focus on manufacturing and export-oriented growth, in addition to other bottlenecks such as high-carbon emissions and destruction of the environment.

But a  new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) shows that a switch to green investments provides a huge opportunity for progress in a Screen-Shot-2015-01-29-at-8.58.03-AMcontinent where nearly half of sub-Saharan Africans live in extreme poverty; three in four households have no grid power; and 70% do not have access to improved sanitation.

Currently a buzz phrase, green economies are those that achieve growth through investments that cut carbon emissions and pollution, in addition to using resources efficiently and protecting the environment for future generations.

To make its case to policymakers, the Green Economy Africa Synthesis Report offers staggering numbers obtained from its findings across 10 African countries, with the region, perhaps of necessity, identified as among the global front runners in leading the transition to green economies.

“Enormous sustainable, renewable, and untapped resources exist on this continent. Africa receives 325 days per year of sunlight and is using less than 7% of its hydroelectric potential, and less than 2% of its geothermal capacity,” UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said.

Mail and Guardian Africa picked out eight examples of other such staggering numbers from the report:

1: Under green investment scenarios, the national real GDP in fast-growing Kenya would increase by an estimated 12% by 2030. This would lead to an additional 3.1 million people being lifted out of poverty. One small solar LED lamp could for example save a Kenyan family more than $1 a week, in a country where an average 13% of income is spent on kerosene.

2: Investments in expanding solar and wind capacity in Senegal would by 2035 create up to 30,000 additional jobs. This would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 9%, or about 27 million tonnes, helping the country realise its undoubted potential.

3: South Africa, which has been battling a water crisis, could save billions of tonnes of water if it makes further investments in natural resource management, especially land restoration. This could create up to 737,000 new jobs, helping alleviate a persistent unemployment headache in Africa’s richest economy. Making energy efficient improvements could further reduce electricity demand by 5% in 2030.

4: Renewable energy investment scenarios in Burkina Faso, which is in the throes of Sahel region desertification, could save up to 100,000 hectares of forest area by 2050, reducing carbon dioxide by 16,000 tonnes. If the country invests further in green electricity generation, it could see this category rise from 20% in 2012 to 60% in 2050.

5: Struggling Egypt could save 30% of its energy consumption if it used efficiency measures. The North African country currently consumes 33 billon KW. And just replacing faulty farm pipelines and introducing drip irrigation could save up to 40% water losses, as it frets over downstream use of its lifeline Nile River.

6: In power-choked but quick-growing Rwanda, expanding its grid-connected renewable energy supply could replace its emergency diesel generators, in place since 2004. The country has an installed off-grid hydro capacity of just 1.54 MW, showing just how power deficit economically cripples countries, from Rwanda to South Africa

7: In Mauritius, a green economy scenario results in over 25% more employment that in a conventional growth scenario. Green sectors tend to be more labour intensive than resource intensive, hence creating space for new jobs in a continent where 11 million African join the labour market every year.

8: In Africa, where agriculture accounts for 32% of its GDP and supports the livelihoods of 80% of its population, investments in green practices such as organic agriculture could provide a cash boom. Uganda for example increased its certified organic exports from $3.7 million in 2004 to $22.8 million four years later. The global market for organic foods and beverages is expected to grow to $105 billion by 2015, from $62.9 billion in 2011.

Source: Mail and Guardian Africa


 

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Ethiopia charting a path to a low carbon future with light rail

By Eric Mutei

At the end of a long day at work, the only thing you want to do is get home quickly. You’re exhausted from dealing with your boss, terrible colleagues or crazy clients. But traveling home is just another drawn out nightmare to endure, thanks to the woes of the transport sector. The only reliable and affordable means of transportation for a common city dweller in Addis Ababa is the state operated city buses. Apart from the long stretchy queues, these buses are overcrowded and groaning heavily under the weight of the city residents. Not to mention the endless traffic jams. This is the daily transit scenario in the streets of Addis Ababa.

The scene above was the common case of daily transit until the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (LRT) project launched in December 2011. The rail is a first in clean initiative in the horn of Africa to enhance public mobility. The light railway of Ethiopia is the first urban metro light rail scheme to be built in a sub-Saharan country outside of South Africa.

The Ethiopian Railways Corp. (ERC) began construction of the double track electrified light rail transit project in 2012. It stretches 23 kilometers covering the better part of the city, and is a welcome relief for the city residents. The light railway consists of two lines running for a total distance of 32km with underground and over ground sections, 39 stations, and two operators that are the Ethiopian Railways Corporation and Shenzhen Metro. The 41 three-section 70% low-floor light rail vehicles are designed to run in pairs at up to 70 km/h. All have tinted windows and rubber components specified to resist premature aging from the effects of strong sunlight at altitudes of 2400 m.

ERC intends to register the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit project as a Clean Development Mechanism project. The rail project is one of the pillars of a green growth strategy in the transport chapter of Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE), to consolidate greenhouse gas emissions of the country at 2010 levels. The vision of this rail project was to see a modern railway infrastructure and service by an efficient railway company that supports Ethiopia’s endeavor in building a globally competitive economy that uses electricity and connects the country’s development centers and links with ports of neighboring countries.

The Climate-Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy (PDF) lays down a plan for Ethiopia to develop a carbon neutral, green economy by 2025. According to the CRGE strategy report, under the BAU scenario, emissions from the transport sector will increase from 5 Mt CO2e in 2010 to 41 Mt CO2e in 2030. The development and implementation of a National Railway Network and the Light Rail Transit and supported projects (Transit Oriented Development) will result in significant GHG emission reductions of 9 Mt CO2e/year by 2030.

Building electrified railways lays the base for low carbon transport in Ethiopia and will assure clean transport tomorrow. Railroads can contribute towards severing Ethiopia’s economic growth from diesel fuelled trucks. Availability of reliable and clean transport is a precondition for Ethiopia’s development. Trains can make use of a domestic energy source, hydropower, and help fuel the economy in a green way. The clean character of the fuel without emission of greenhouse gasses and the durable economic structure without dependency on imported fuels is sustainable.

Years ago the air was cleaner, but with the drastic growth in population, more than 4 million, the number of 20 year or older vehicles and developmental projects, the air is polluted above the traffic gridlock. The light rail train as cleaner public transist gives a reprieve to the public, combined with the hope for more electric cars, it is expected to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector to less than 9 tonnes by 2030. It is an environmentally friendly venture aimed at combating the ever growing pollution in the city. It is not only convenient, providing transport for over 15,000 people per one direction and 60,000 in all four directions, but affordable for the residents. It is a milestone in helping Ethiopia sustain its growing economy, as Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

The Light Rail Train has brought glimmers of hope to the common man. At the very least, one can get home easily at the end of the day without the crazy hassle of looking for and struggling in transit. The commuting city residents can breathe easier using clean transit as they take part in building their nation.

Source: Nazret.com


 

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