Japan will continue to partner with Kenya to combat crisis

Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Ken Okaniwa (right) receives a trophy from KOA's Tecla Sang in Nairobi on May 14, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Climate change is a common challenge of humankind, requiring actions by all countries.

Japan highly appreciates Kenya's commitment to combat climate change and President William Ruto's leadership in rallying the international community towards more ambitious climate actions at COP27.

Japan will continue to work in full force to tackle climate change, mobilising funding and technology to achieve its own "net-zero by 2050" as well as to support Kenya and other developing countries. To meet the developed countries' collective commitment on climate finance, Japan has so far pledged financial contribution, both public and private, totaling JPY 6.5 trillion in 2021-2025.

In August this year, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida launched Japan's 'Green Growth Initiative with Africa' on the scale of USD 4 billion at the 8th meeting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development. This initiative, focused especially on Africa, will mobilise funding for projects relating to mitigation such as hydrogen and renewable energy, and those relating to adaptation.

At the bilateral level, Japan and Kenya have longstanding cooperation in several sectors relevant to climate change. Since the 1980s, Japan has continued supporting Kenya Forestry Research Institute and the forestry sector. The institute plays a key role in developing improved varieties of trees.

From the 1980s, Japan's support in terms of technical expertise has led to expansion of Kenya's geothermal electric generation in Olkaria as well as improved transmission. According to the Economic Survey 2022, Kenya's geothermal power accounts for over 40 per cent of its total electricity generation in 2021.

And while climate change seriously affects the productivity of agriculture, Japan's support to irrigation and rice production is contributing significantly to the stable supply of water and increased rice production in Mwea and Ahero. President Ruto recently commissioned the Thiba Dam in Mwea, built with Japanese assistance. The dam expands the irrigated area by an additional 2,000 ha and increases the annual rice harvest from two harvests to three.

Looking to the future, climate actions have a potential for promoting job creation and economic growth. For this to happen, involving the private sector is crucial.

Kenya is the first country in Africa to benefit from the Joint Crediting Mechanism based on a bilateral agreement with Japan. In 2021, solar panels were installed at a salt factory in Kilifi County with funding from Japan, resulting in the first issuance of carbon credits shared between the two governments.

In another project funded by Japan, there are plans to install solar panels on a rose farm in Kajiado County. If implemented, the farm will avoid crop failures resulting from disruption in water circulation.

There is an enormous potential for mobilising Japanese funding, expertise and technology in Africa for climate actions. As PM Kishida remarked at COP26, no one must be left behind as we confront climate change.

-Ambassador of Japan to Kenya