BY VICTOR BWIRE
Public Private Partnerships are gradually paying off in the energy sector as the government scales up efforts towards generating the planned 5000+ MW, which will increase the generation capacity from the current 1,664MW to over 6,700MW by the year 2016.
The main focus currently is in the renewable energy sub-sector with emphasis on wind, solar, geothermal and biomass to reduce the country’s dependency on oil based energy sources.
The country’s intention planning is to increase usage of renewable energy that has less negative impact on the environment and assist the country achieve its ambition to become a green economy as a member of the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF).
The government is opening the national electricity grid to supply from private players that is meant to break the monopoly previously enjoyed by the public sector- which is meant to increase energy supply, lower prices for electricity for both domestic and industrial use. We have major investments in the wind energy sector in Turkana/Samburu counties, Kajiado and other areas in the country, and more private sector players are being encouraged to invest in whichever other areas that have the potential. The private entities involved in renewable energy projects include global leaders in the manufacture of wind turbines, Vestas Group from Denmark.
Other potential areas are in the forest sector, where already the government is pursuing a policy of commercialization and growing of trees through emphasizing on growing the bamboo trees, which have huge economic value. This has the potential unlock incomes in water catchments and riparian reserves, promoting replacement of polythene tubes used for tree seedling production with biodegradable containers from bamboo and other organic materials; building capacity of youth and women to grow bamboo as commercial ventures; and marketing of various types of bamboo products.
In the agricultural sector, the government in partnership with the private sector is working on building commercially-viable and strong capacity in agricultural production and agro-processing to enable the country to withstand global food shocks and achieve sustainable food security and nutrition.
The government has set up various manufacturing initiatives including Special Economic clusters (SECs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs), SME-Parks. Specifically, private players have been encouraged to establish integrated Agro-Parks across the country aimed at creating modern centers of Excellence for large-scale Agricultural modernization. A case is the project initiated by two Kenyan firms – Centerprise Africa (a financial advisory firm) and Planning Systems (a physical planning and architectural firm) to develop a proto-type Agro-park concept and seek private and public partners to implement the same in Kenya and across Africa with initial seed funding from the Dutch Government.
(Bwire is the Deputy CEO & Programmes Manager at the Media Council of Kenya)