Kenya investors told to go green

December 16, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 16 – Kenya Investment Authority is now calling on the business investors and the government to go green in their business ventures.

Susan Kikwai Managing Director KenInvest on Wednesday said time had come for Kenya to focus on development of green energy in order to generate more revenue to the business sector as well as conserve the environment.

She said that the private sector should invest in localised solutions and technology transfer that would see Kenya make use of alternative sources of energy.

“Our private sector particularly the SMEs (Small and Medium size Enterprises) can partner and use our research institutions to see how we could present and have our own solutions to manage the environment. We can also take advantage of technology transfer to get ourselves interesting, innovative and creative ways of conserving energy and preserving the environment,” she said. 

She also called on a government/private sector partnership to facilitate Kenya’s transition from fossil energy to biomass generated energy noting that the venture would not be cheap.

“We are hearing a lot that the private sector needs to be supported in terms of incentives by way of tax relief and other incentives that could be available if the private sector were to import new machinery that goes into production of goods in a cleaner way,” she said.

Mr Philip Mwabe a representative from the Environmental and Combustion Consultants also asked the government to provide economic instruments that would help both the private and public sectors to recycle and use green energy. He also recommended that the government puts in place policies that would regulate the transition.

“When we talk about these water treatment facilities it becomes very difficult for investors to borrow loans from banks to buy them. If you are going to borrow locally the bank will look at the turnover and when you put in environmental factors it becomes very difficult for you to guarantee the bank of a promising turnover. Therefore NEMA and KenInvest should allow a certain subsidy for people investing in this venture,” he said.

Chief Executive of Gertrude’s Children Hospital explained that the cost of using hydroelectric power was expensive not only for the hospital but also for other businesses and proposed that Kenya promotes use of alternative energy sources.

“We are capable of de-linking ourselves from the Kenya Power and Lighting Company’s supply. As a hospital our costs of energy is quite high. We spend over Sh2.5 million on our power and energy and we would rather put that money into buying medical equipment. I believe that if we do our research well we may be able to develop technology that will allow us conserve and promote green energy. In addition rather than import machines from Europe (to help us develop other sources of energy) we need to ask ourselves; how can we engage the Europeans to teach us how to adopt the technology here?” he posed.

Tru Foods Operations Manager Mwangi Njiru called on the recycling of water from various manufacturing processes a move that would help conserve the environment, reduce wastage and improve profits.

“The aquifers in Nairobi are drying up. Initially you could get good water at 150 metres then we had to go down 220 metres. Right now you cannot get enough water for your processes unless you dig up to 300 metres. Putting this water into the drain which would cost you a lot for treating and then you put it in the drain again. This is not economical at all so we should be able to recycle it instead,” he said.

Paul Kiganga from Osho Chemical Industries also added that the government should not only create policies that would facilitate use of green energy but that it should also implement them.

“I know everyone is talking about a greener environment in this nation if we do not have policies that work,” he said adding that Kenya had a great capacity for relying on green energy.

“I think Kenya is among the countries of the world which can fully rely on green energy. In the Rift Valley we have the ability to generate up to 8000 megawatts of electricity from geothermal energy,” he said. 

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