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Money Markets

Experts meet in Nairobi over carbon trade opportunities

Treasury also announced plans to start the Nairobi Carbon Exchange that will handle most of the state-generated carbon credits. Photo/FILE
Treasury also announced plans to start the Nairobi Carbon Exchange that will handle most of the state-generated carbon credits. Photo/FILE 

Carbon trading experts, financial institutions and companies eyeing new revenues from environmental conservation will meet in Nairobi later this month at a conference expected to develop structures for the multi-billion shilling market.

The event organised by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is expected to attract big names involved in carbon trading following last month’s launch of Africa’s only carbon exchange.

“The workshop is intended to help Kenya’s financial institutions to adopt new business lines related to carbon finance,” said IFC’s communication office in Nairobi.

The workshop will be held on April 27 under the IFC’s Climate Change Investment Programme in Africa (CIPA).

It will be led by Lasse Ringius, a carbon finance expert at IFC.

“There is growing interest and awareness of carbon finance both as climate change mitigation measure and as a business opportunity,” said Ringius.

CIPA committed Sh100 million in November, 2009, as seed money for banks to lend to carbon finance projects.

So far, it has signed a cooperation deal with Barclays Bank Kenya and is negotiating with Ecobank.

Under the co-operation agreement with the Barclays Bank, 14 potential projects have been identified and energy audits are under way to enable a financial and technical assessment.

CIPA said it has completed two of four studies to identify renewable energy and their efficiency in various sectors in the country. Reports are expected to be released later this year.

Carbon finance refers to financing of green energy projects or any other projects whose end result is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere without affecting the production capability of the emitter.

For instance, if there is energy switch by a factory from use of heavy oil to hot air generated from biomass, production of such unit should not be reduced.

The carbon dioxide that such a project prevents from being emitted into the atmosphere is measured in tonnes and each tonne is one carbon credit also known as a Certified Emission Reduction.

This is the unit that is then sold in the carbon market.

Energy-saving bulbs

Reducing emission of carbon dioxide is being encouraged because the gas is the main cause of global warming, which affects climate patterns.

In Kenya, the only market available to sell carbon credits is the recently launched Africa Carbon Exchange although Nairobi has attracted a number of international carbon finance consultants like JP Morgan Climate Care, Bea International, World Bank Bio-Carbon Fund and German development and investment bank KfW and many others that can arrange for firms to sell their carbon credits to the international market.

The Treasury also announced plans to start the Nairobi Carbon Exchange that will handle most of the state-generated carbon credits like those from afforestation, geothermal development, use of energy saving bulbs by Kenya Power and Lighting Company and wind energy investments by KenGen among other projects.

Treasury officials said the formation of the exchange would be fast-tracked because of the high number of inquiries the country has received from foreign banks seeking partnership in carbon credit trade.

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