New climate innovation centre for Ghana launched

kufourThe first multimillion Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC), a technology hub, to develop solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change has been inaugurated in Accra.

GCIC is to help more than 100 local clean technology businesses to develop and commercialise innovative solutions.

The launch by the World Bank Group comes barely four months after the Bank in February approved a financial package of $17.2 million to fund the GCIC hosted by the Ashesi University College at Berekusu in the Eastern Region.

The Centre would support Ghana’s National Climate Change Policy spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation to help over 300,000 Ghanaians to increase resilience to climate change in the next 10 years.

It is also expected to support local clean technology ventures to mitigate 660,000 tons of CO2, the equivalent of the emissions of almost 140,000 cars in a year,  and contribute to the production of more than 260 million kWh of clean energy in the country.

Environmental scientists warn that if global temperatures rise by more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the consequences would be severe and, in some cases, irreversible and projected glaciers would continue to shrink, heat waves would be more frequent and the oceans would get warmer and more acidic.

A development expert says the problem requires concerted action as echoed by the UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor at the launch that emerging countries like Ghana would be unable to confront the disturbing effect unless it joined global forces.

“I believe global action is crucial to fight the impact of climate change, I believe science and technology should be deployed at every stage, the effort must be global, this is what the world must be awakened to,” he said.

“If we are seeking green solutions to fight the impact which is global, I believe public policy, donor community support, as well as private sector should share the risk of investment to transition from fossil fuels to green energy,” he added.

Mr Kufuor also urged donor partners to fulfil their pledges in terms of financial commitments and extension of technology to support developing countries in Africa fight the devastating effects of climate change.

Africa cannot deal with the problem without global partnership, he said, adding: “We need the global community, the promises and pledges have been there for some time, and unfortunately the pledges have not been fulfilled in terms of financial support, in terms of technological extension.”

“No country is an island now, unless the world moves together to do something by 2020 or 2030 to put temperatures under two degrees Celsius, it will be like all of us being on the same boat, we either sail together or we sink together.”

He noted that governments in Africa are ready and awakened to confront the problem largely contributed by human activities, which need policy statements to keep temperatures under two degrees Celsius.

The Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah expressed joy that ‘great people’ are beginning to speak about the importance of green environment in Ghana and challenged the Centre to strive and make impact on the rest of the countries in Africa.

“It is a joyful occasion to see our own people putting hands together to serve their own purpose and save nature,” he said before declaring the GCIC officially launched.

“The GCIC solidifies the role of the private sector in helping Ghana manage the effects of climate change”, said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Ghana in a speech read on his behalf.

“By enabling entrepreneurs and green innovators to test and scale new clean technologies, homegrown business solutions can help the country build climate resilience, while contributing to job creation and economic development.”

According to the World Bank report on Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change, without a proper green growth strategy, Ghana’s agricultural gross domestic product would decline by three per cent to eight per cent by the middle of the century.

Coastal erosion from rising sea levels could result in significant loss of land and forced migration, while extreme weather events could further strain the country’s infrastructure.

To reduce the long-term cost of climate change and create opportunities for sustainable growth, the Bank said, the GCIC would provide local companies with the knowledge and resources they needed to prototype, develop, and market innovative clean technologies in sectors like climate-smart agriculture, waste water treatment, and off-grid renewable energy.

The services offered by the Centre will include financing, policy interventions, and market connections, as well as technical and business training.

It is supported by the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands and be managed by a consortium led by Ashesi University College with Ernst and Young, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, and the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa.

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