UK pledges Sh500b for clean energy and irrigation projects

Tuesday, November 8th, 2022 07:20 | By
President William Ruto and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on November 7, 2022. PHOTO/Twitter/William Ruto.
President William Ruto and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on November 7, 2022. PHOTO/Twitter/William Ruto.

The United Kingdom has committed to support Kenya in financing climate change projects to the tune of Sh500 billion.

President William Ruto and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who met yesterday at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, agreed to have the financing fast-tracked.

The new, clean and green investments will become flagship projects of the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership – an ambitious five-year agreement that is unlocking mutual benefits for both countries.

“The leaders agreed to fast-track six green investment projects worth Sh500 billion spanning green energy, agriculture and transport,” said a statement issued by the British High Commission in Nairobi.

Sunak praised Kenya’s pioneering climate leadership and urged President Ruto to continue championing clean growth.

The projects include new geothermal and solar energy generation at Menegai and Malindi, a Sh425 billion Public Private Partnership to deliver the Grand High Falls dam, which will generate a gigawatt of renewable power and provide an area over twice the size of the Maasai Mara with drought-combating irrigation solutions.

Others are the green regeneration of central Nairobi anchored around a new central rail station and a Sh32 billion investment in a climate-resilient agriculture hub for the Lake Victoria region in Kisumu that will create 2,000 direct jobs and provide an income for 20,000 farmers.

Mitigation efforts

In the deal, the UK government will commit Sh2 billion to a new guarantee company that will lower investment risk and unlock Sh12 billion of climate finance for Kenyan projects over the next three years through collaboration with CPF Financial Services and other private investors.

During a meeting with Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez at State House, Nairobi on October 26, President Ruto said the financing agenda should feature prominently during the COP26 conference.

Among the issues that Kenya would like to see discussed extensively is the question of mitigating the impact of climate change.

“We can in a robust manner, in a very honest conversation, be able to have a discussion on the effect of climate change especially those of drought and famine, the loss of wildlife, the loss of livestock, and the threat to human life that is being caused by the ravages of climate change,” said Ruto.

Private sector

The High Commission statement  said that throughout its COP26 presidency, the UK has worked with partners across Africa to deliver and build on the Glasgow Climate Pact, and to see commitments made at COP26 turned into action.

“For example, in Kenya since COP26, £5.4m has been committed and £2.8m will be spent to support Kenya’s energy transition, unlocking private sector investment in forest protection and the Kenyan Government’s ambitious 10% forest cover target,” read the statement.

“The UK and Kenya go far when we go together. By fast-tracking finance into these clean, green projects with honest, reliable investment the UK is supporting Kenya to advance and maintain its continent-leading climate credentials – with mutual benefits for both our countries,” British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott said.

The projects to be fat-tracked include the Malindi Solar Expansion at Sh7.5 billion investment,  a 40MW solar plant, constructed by UK Company Globeleq with finance from British International Investment, which was connected to the grid in December 2021.

Others are Menengai Geothermal at Sh2.5 billion investment, a 35 MW geothermal project led by GDC and Globeleq which will mark the full development of a field discovered by GDC.

Also in the plan is the Sh25 billion investment in the Grand High Falls Dam, a Public Private Partnership on the Tana River that will generate 1,000MW of hydroelectric energy capacity and irrigation for 400,000 hectares of farmland.

Led by UK engineering firm GBM, the project is envisaged to include both a Power Purchase Agreement for clean energy and a Water Purchase Agreement for agricultural irrigation.

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