Kenya Can Greatly Benefit from Green Economy

KENYA’S transition to a green economy offers major economic benefits worth $45 billion by 2030, offering greater food security, a cleaner environment and higher productivity of natural resources.

This is the conclusion of a new study launched Tuesday by the Government of Kenya and the UN Environment Programme. The study, “The Green Economy Assessment Report: Kenya” finds that the transition to an inclusive, low emission, resource efficient green economy will result in stronger economic growth and increased wealth creation opportunities by 2021.

Under a green economy scenario, with an investment of two percent of GDP, national GDP would exceed a business-as-usual scenario by about 12%, or KES 3.6 trillion (equivalent to US $45 billion), by 2030. Per capita national income would nearly double from KES 39,897 (US $498.70) to KES 69,702 (US $871.30). Under a business-as-usual investment scenario and a two percent investment, GDP would only increase to KES 53,146 (US $664.30) over the same period of time.

As green economy measures mitigate the impact of climate change, the report finds the country's aggregated Green House Gas Emissions measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent would be 9% lower by 2030 under a green economy scenario with an investment of two percent of GDP compared to a business-as-usual scenario and a two percent investment.

In the agriculture sector, the report finds that green economy investments would increase the average agriculture yield by about 15% from its current baseline. Agriculture accounts for approximately one quarter of Kenya's national GDP annually and up to 65% of its exports.

Kenya is already implementing policies and initiatives to move towards a green economy, and this approach is recognized in the country's long-term development blueprint and in the government's Second Medium Term Plan (2013-2017).

The report finds that further green energy investments could lead to about a two percent reduction in energy consumption and an expanded supply of electricity from renewable sources compared to business-as-usual. For example, under a green economy scenario, renewable energy would double geothermal capacity by 2030, compared to business-as-usual, and other renewable energy resources would also grow during this period, contributing to 20% of the total power supply.

To accelerate these efforts, the report urges the government to consider adopting targeted clean energy solutions for households and institutions, such as energy efficient lighting and appliances; and, making additional investments in renewable energy, such as geothermal, solar, wind and biofuel energy.

While Kenya's manufacturing sector has continued to contribute about 10% to the country's GDP for over many years, it is still one of the largest in Sub-Sahara Africa and considered a key pillar for the country's future growth. However, the report finds that to green this sector, more public policies are needed to encourage and incentivize investment in resource-efficient and clean production processes, recycling and eco-labelling, among other transformative strategies.

Source: UNEP. Picture of Nairobi by afromusing (Flickr: Nairobi Skyline) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday 16th April 2014

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