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KENYA: MOVING TOWARDS A GREEN ECONOMY

Greening Kenya's economy is not only a government policy, but also an opportunity to develop new technologies, create green jobs and for promoting green growth 

First Green Economy National Workshop

Nairobi, Kenya, 24 June 2011

 

Hosted by Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources and UNEP, Kenya's first National Workshop brought together 80 participants including officials from the office of the Prime Minister, Treasury, Energy, Housing, Agriculture, Water, the National Economic and Social Council and other government ministries together with representatives of the private sector, leading Kenyan commercial and development banks, non-government organizations, and representatives of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labor Office, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and other UN bodies and donor agencies.

Leading the change 

Dr. Alice Kaudia, the Environment Secretary of Kenya highlighted that Kenya’s new adopted constitution provides a fresh foundation that places the right to a clean environment at all levels at a center stage. Dr. Kaudia noted that “since 2010, the government of Kenya has conceptualized a transformative development pathway that can create more jobs, accelerate poverty reduction, support sustainable growth and assure environment health and quality”.

 

Mr. Obadiah Mungai, Economist in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Finance highlighted that in its 2011-2012 budget, Kenya is making both imported solar panels and local manufacturing duty free. To encourage usage of environmentally friendly vehicles and to reduce carbon emission and noise pollution, battery operated vehicles are now duty exempt. The Kenyan government is expending its expenditure on Environment, Water and Irrigation from Kenyan Shillings 50.351 billion/year in 2010/2011to Kenyan Shillings 57.000 billion/year in 2011/12.  

Concrete actions for a green economy


Speaking on behalf of Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Mr. Suresh Patel stressed that “the private sector is indispensable to achieve Green Growth. Through domestic and foreign direct investment, the private sector is essential in developing and diffusing the innovative products, processes, technologies, and services that generate and will continue to generate sustainable solutions”. Mr. Patel noted the importance of incentives for the private sector to expand investment and to offset potential risks. For Kenya’s private sector, incentives should be designed not only to trigger new investments, but also to sustain and protect the existing investment. Such incentives need to be “based on cost-benefit analysis, be transparent, non-distortive and economically, environmentally, and socially effective – while enabling industry and consumers to adapt to market signals”.

 

 

Ms. Jane Nyakang’o, Executive Director of Kenya National Cleaner Production Centre stressed that cleaner enterprises are more competitive enterprises as shown by the Centre’s work with over 400 Kenyan enterprises in several industrial sectors, where companies could achieve some 30-40% reduction in energy consumption with no- and low-cost technology (efficient lighting, occupancy and/or motion sensors, good housekeeping, preventive maintenance etc) and 20% energy savings on new technology (high efficiency boilers, VSD, fuel switch etc.).

 

Dr. Wilfred Nyangena from Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) noted that “Kenya’s future economic growth hinges on the policies the country takes in managing it nature based assets as key drivers of the economy (agriculture, livestock, tourism, forestry, and fisheries) are climate-sensitive. Implementation of a green economy will be crucial both for the environment and economic and social outlook of the country”. Dr. Nyangena pointed to the potential for raising revenue and changing production and consumption behavior through Environmental Fiscal Reform. Studies conducted indicate that for Kenya approximate revenue from EFR taxes account for about 6% of total tax revenue and 1.7% of GDP.

 

 

Opportunities in the near future


With about 750,000 yearly graduates coming into the labour market, creating employment for a growing youth population is one of the key challenges facing Kenya despite decent levels of economic growth in the past years. Economic sectors such as tourism, which generates $ 50 million of revenue per year and employs 11,000 people in Kenya, offer promising opportunities along with clean energy generation and sustainable agriculture. Mr. George Nyoro Waigi, National Programme Coordinator, ILO Kenya Office and Mr. Marek Mr. Marek Harsdorff, Economist, ILO Green Jobs Initiative, announced a new Youth Green Entrepreneurship Programme that will support the development of skills for green jobs and promote start-ups by young Kenyan entrepreneurs.   

Africa on the road to Rio+20

Mr. Mounkaila Goumandakoye, UNEP Director and Regional Reprehensive for Africa pointed to Kenya’s vast natural capital assets, including for clean energy, and to the important policy and political process taking place for a transformative change in Kenya and in several other African countries. He noted that African countries are engaging positively and proactively on the road to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development taking place in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, looking at new opportunities that a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication could offer to Africa.

 

This First Workshop of Kenya Green Economy National Programme hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is part of a regional green economy project in Africa, implemented by UNEP and partner institutions with the support of the European Union. Discussions and propositions made at the workshop are meant to inform a macro-economic assessment that will explore in detail key opportunities and challenges for greening the economy in Kenya, with a view to stimulate a green, inclusive and equitable growth, achieve poverty reduction and create green jobs in order to advance sustainable development objectives.