Kenya tells Chinese firms to invest in clean energy

Zimbabwe’s Isaiah Nyakusendwa, Lingxiu Zhang of Roselake Capital and Katakwala Mwandila of Ndkay Zambia during the 2023 China-Africa Sustainable Investment Summit in Nairobi on Nov 9, 2023. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Chinese business owners have been urged to invest in Kenya and also Africa’s renewable energy for sustainable development.

The plea came as the country transitions to clean energy to combat climate change.

During the three-day 2023 China- Africa Sustainable Investment Summit that ended yesterday in Nairobi, which was organised by World Wide Fund (WWF) and Alliance for Chinese Business in Africa (ACBA), several Chinese investors and private company owners converged to look for investment opportunities in the country.

Prof Jane Mariara, Executive Director of Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP), said Chinese investors need to link their investment desires in Africa with Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve viable development.

“Green innovations, technologies and entrepreneurship bring profitability for businesses and ensure sustainability and this can also allow the vulnerable community equal access to a better environment,” she said.

She said there are also other opportunities for urban farming, waste management and start-ups that deal with renewable energy products.

Liu Fengwei, Priority Project Coordinator, Greening Belt & Road Initiative at World Wide Fund at Beijing Office, said China has invested heavily in Africa in infrastructure projects like roads and bridges, contributing to its connectivity.

“However, now it really needs another lot of financing and other technical solutions to achieve a socially inclusive and sustainable development. This summit is aimed at helping promote China to invest in Africa sustainably and it to help it achieve its energy needs,” said Ms Fengwei on behalf of ACBA.

According to statistics, 600 million people in Africa have no access to electricity, thus presenting a lucrative opportunity for investment.

Wilfred Baya, Assistant Director of Energy, Kilifi County said in Kenya, energy plays a pivotal role as an enabler of the ambitious Kenya Vision 2030, aimed at transforming the nation into an industrialised economy by 2030.

“The Energy at of 2019 has created a framework, that empowers county governments, offering opportunities to address various sectors within the energy nexus, including agriculture, water, health and education,” Baya said.

He said the country’s attention is focused on China as a source of expertise in capacity building for local workforce and production of renewable energy technologies.

“This strategic direction will lead to cost reductions for the various technologies essential for county governments. We welcome all investors present at this event and these opportunities are outlined in our energy plan, which has received support from WWF in our county’s development initiatives. With open arms, we extend a warm welcome to Kenya,” Baya said.

Areas of investment in renewable energy include solar for lighting and cooking, wind power and hydropower among other energy mixes.

There also exist opportunities in electric transport as the country continues to embrace e-mobility.

Another opportunity, it emerged is in green housing to reduce greenhouse emission in the build and construction sector, which accounts for approximately 40 percent of emissions. The businessmen and women were encouraged to ensure local manufacturing of renewable energy products than importation, reaping from available tax benefits even as they do capacity building of local manpower which consists of many jobless youths.

During the summit, the Corporate Social Responsibility Report of Chinese Business in Africa 2023 was officially released to the international community.

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