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Conservation, public officer accountability top priorities for Africa

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AGGREY MUTAMBO

By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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Africa’s position in the upcoming decade could depend on how officials conserve the environment and remain answerable to the growing population.

In a new report by non-profit think-tank Brookings Institution, Africa’s ‘rising’ tag may continue, but public officers will have to change their attitude about climate change and see their positions as those of service, not enrichment.

The Foresight Africa report released last week puts forward six key areas that African leaders may focus on if at all the people’s livelihoods are to be improved.

It says they must allocate more attention and funds to the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the UN’s vision for a poverty-less world by 2030.

They must also inculcate public accountability through better elections and services, target the welfare of the youth and combat climate change.

The leaders, the report says, must also invest in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, where innovation is encouraged and policies that support private investors implemented, rather than rake in debts for white elephants.

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It seems this has to start with a clean environment.

“Make no mistake, the big emitters absolutely must step up their domestic climate action, and quickly,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, now a non-resident Distinguished Fellow at the Africa Growth Initiative of the Brookings.

“But building the new climate economy is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that every African nation should prioritise and claim a stake in.”

Dr Okonjo-Iweala argues in the report that while Africa has contributed the least dangerous emissions to the environment, it is the most-exposed to effects of gases that contribute to global warming, the driver of climate change.

“Devastating cyclones affected three million people in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe in the spring of 2018. GDP exposure in African nations vulnerable to extreme climate patterns is projected to grow from $895 billion (Sh89.5 trillion) in 2018 to about $1.4 trillion (Sh140 trillion) in 2023—nearly half of the continent’s GDP,” she noted.

That anomaly is a blot to a continent said to have 10 of the fastest growing economies in the world. But experts had warned before, since 2010, that it will be the continent’s biggest headache.

“Climate change is and has been an issue for the continent for the last 15 years and has been continually getting more complex to manage,” said Macharia Kamau, Former Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for el-Niño and Climate Change.

Mr Kamau, now Kenya’s Principal Secretary of Foreign Affairs, told the Nation that he would tour the world warning leaders that the effects of climate change would worsen.

“The cost to African economies is anywhere between one and a half to three per cent of the GDP. This translates to a punitive climate change penalty and a severe restriction on economic potential, growth and positive social transformation.”

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But climate change is a result of nearly 200 years of the industrial revolution, which Africa did not take part in.

Further, the UN says about 430 million people in Africa are bone-poor or in “extreme poverty” and may need at least $1 trillion annually to implement SDGs.

Brookings experts suggest that issues of governance and inclusion could be top priority as well.

A random poll showed that nearly half of the people want better elections and governance (48 per cent) prioritised so that youth development, health, climate change and regional integration policies are implemented.

“Strong institutions and human development calibre; those are the constraints for Africa,” Armando Manuel, the Alternate Director of the World Bank, said last week during a panel discussion on the report in Washington.

“The rate of discoveries of natural resources in Africa is currently so high that the countries can easily turn into middle income countries. But the problem is that when they reach middle income level, they reach a trap; facing constraints of growth, constraints of income distribution….no inclusion.”

This decade, the UN says should be one of action on poverty, wars, environmental degradation and poor governance. The African Union prioritised 2020 to end violence and 2063 for full integration.

Foresight said business environments across the continent were improving, regional integration centered around the African Continental Free Trade Agreement were progressing, and that transformational technologies were present.

But the rapid rise of the population requires better policies.

Mr Matt Rees, the Interim Coordinator for Prosper Africa at USAID, the US government’s private investment support arm, argues African leaders must prioritise solutions to deal with the population explosion.

“Governments and, most importantly, private players must step up to solve the problem … so that they can collectively create employment for the urbanising population … begin to pay for the achievement of the SDGs … guide for policies that can lead to environmentally friendly outcomes and begin to hold governments accountable,” he said on the panel last week.

“They have to allow people to vote with their economic powers rather than their demographic powers or kinship,” he said.

“The priority should be … how to work with the private sector on policy shift. At least propose answers that are more achievable rather than take on more debt from either international development banks, multilateral banks or unsavoury characters who not only tie people in debt but also don’t invest in labour…and capacity transfer.

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KENGEN’s Olkaria Geothermal Plant Lower Evacuation Costs Causes Competitor To Lower Electricity Tariff

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Kengen’s Olkaria Geothermal plant which has low evacuation costs hence providing low power tariff to its customers has ignited its competitor to reduce its power tariff to set up factories in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Olkaria, Naivasha.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said it had approved the tariff deal for the large industries that will set up base in the special zone.

The KenGen Green Energy Industrial Park, which has four zones had set the pace by offering direct connection to cheap electricity in addition to the connection to Mombasa port via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line.

KenGen recently moved to diversify its revenue streams by inviting investors to set up export-only textile and apparels plants on the 309-acre industrial zone in Naivasha.

It said the Olkaria property is divided into four plots: Site A (70 acres), Site B (82 acres), Site C (100 acres) and 57 acres reserved for Site D.

“Under the lease, the manufacturing/processing firms (locators) will be supplied with utilities such as geothermal steam and brine (hot water) as well as raw water,” said the electricity producer. Factories around the SEZ will also be served by the just-completed Naivasha-Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), easing connectivity.

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This will enable them to import raw materials which will be delivered directly to their factories and later have manufactured products exported to other countries like Europe and the Americas with ease due to access to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as well as the Port of Mombasa.

Among the targeted companies are the labour intensive export-only textile and apparels plants. Kenya has been expanding and simplifying the tax incentives it offers for investment in special economic zones in a bid to attract investment into those zones.

In July 2019, the government designated 9,000 acres of land in Naivasha, Mombasa, and Machakos as SEZs in efforts to boost manufacturing. The SEZs are designated areas aimed at promoting and facilitating export-oriented investments. Kenya recently improved its global ranking among the world’s largest geothermal powerhouses after it completed the testing of the first unit of the Olkaria V project.

The 82.7 megawatts project pushed Kenya above Iceland to position eight in the global rankings as the country continues its advancement towards green energy. “We are delighted to announce the completion of the first unit of Olkaria V geothermal power plant and subsequently injecting 79 megawatts to the national grid,” said KenGen Managing Director Rebecca Miano last year.

 

 

 

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President Kenyatta’s tribute to former leader Daniel Moi

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UHURU KENYATTA

By UHURU KENYATTA
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It is with a heavy heart and a profound sense of personal loss that I make this tribute, in honour of the life of President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, who rested on the early hours of Tuesday February 4, 2020.

Today, as the solemn procession of the late President Moi proceeds through the streets of our Nation’s capital, to lie-in-state at Parliament buildings; we commence the final journey of a great son of Kenya, a cherished brother, a loving father, a mentor to many, a father of our nation, a champion of Pan-Africanism, and the Second President of the Republic of Kenya.

The question that we all should ask ourselves is: “How does one mourn an iconic leader?” A leader who spent almost his entire life in service to our nation, whose story of heroism, sacrifice and service, began in the pre-independence era.

How is a man who achieved so much more than is expected in a lifetime – be celebrated? 

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What would be a befitting send off or national honour for a man who built Kenya, in large part by the works of his hands?

A man who, together with other iconic leaders, helped Shepherd our Country out of the shackles of Colonial Rule; and into the Freedom and Self Determination of our modern independent State.

How else can a grateful Nation celebrate the life of a man whose calm and steady hand reassured a young Nation and her Allies, during the peaceful transition into the Second Administration?

The sun has set on a truly extraordinary man.

A masterful yet thoughtful leader.

A suave yet firm Diplomat.

One who served the nation with dignity and honour.

One whose wisdom and diplomatic finesse kept Kenya, both relevant and neutral, even as the whole world was in the grips of the Cold War.

“A passing cloud” that served with distinction for 24 years. A decisive and courageous Commander-in Chief of formidable achievements, who chose well and always put the country first. 

A balanced leader who during the clamour for multipartisym, on listening to both sides – chose well, setting the stage for national rebirth through the reintroduction of multiparty politics.

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A tactful leader, who during the quest for a new constitutional order, listened and quietly chose what was best for the country.

A visionary leader who, in 2002, when his party – and, I as their candidate – lost the Presidential election, left office with a gracious last word of advice to those who, thereafter, took up the heavy responsibilities he had borne for a quarter of a century.

Today, we to celebrate the life of a patriot who wherever in Kenya he found himself, he would calm fears and raise the hopes of everyone who heard him. 

No part of Kenya was strange to him, and nor were her citizens. Deep in his D.N.A, he understood and prized our culture and national character.

To his last day in office as President, he remained committed and ready to defend Africa and her people. He believed, deeply, that we had the answers to the questions that troubled our continent.

Our Nation is not alone in mourning the passing of President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi. The whole of Africa is mourning with us. We continue to receive messages of sympathy and admiration for the life and service of Mzee Moi from around the world.

We celebrate the life of a teacher for life and a mentor to many – myself included. One whose ingenuity bequeath our Nation many projects.

President Moi was a mortal man, whose works and legacy are immortal. The Republic of Kenya, the community of East Africa and the great continent of Africa, bears his indelible mark, which, I am convinced, will endure long into the future.

May Mzee Moi’s memory live as long as our Republic endures; and may we, to whom he has left the care of the Republic, prove ourselves worthy of his bequest.

We commit Mzee Moi’s Soul to the Almighty God, thanking the Creator for sending to us His Servant, whom after nearly a century of selfless and steadfast service, now rests in His Glory and his well-deserved reward.

God bless you and our beloved Nation – Kenya.

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Moi’s body leaves funeral home

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The body of former president Daniel Moi has left Lee Funeral Home for Parliament Buildings.

Kenyans of all walks of life will have three days from Saturday to Monday to view the body, which will be lying in state at Parliament Buildings.

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua said President Uhuru Kenyatta will be the first to view the body at State House on Saturday at 10.15 am.

The body will leave the Lee Funeral Home at 8 am with the casket draped in the national flag.

The funeral procession is snaking through Valley Road to Kenyatta Avenue and on to Parliament Road after which a military parade will be mounted in his honour.

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