A new African sustainability research hub will make a “huge contribution” to promoting low carbon economic development in Kenya, according to a speech on Wednesday by Hon. Henry Rotich, Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury. The speech was delivered by Prof Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, at a workshop on Low Carbon Development in Africa held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Providing access to energy, especially for the poor, in Kenya and in other African countries remains a challenge. The percentage of Africans classed as living in extreme poverty is 47% with 620 million people lacking access to grid electricity. Furthermore, energy demand in Africa is expected to grow by 80% by the year 2040. The CS said that, “Power supply has not kept pace with high rates of growth, and energy demand constantly outweighs supply across the continent.”
“A low-carbon economic development path in Africa is able to deliver clean and sustainable energy to millions of energy-poor people across the continent, drive a productive green economic expansion for the continent and deliver a higher sustainable standards of living well into the future”, said the CS. “The Low Carbon Development in Africa workshop comes at an opportune time as it seeks to contribute to the low carbon development agenda,” the CS added.
“We have sufficient resources to meet our energy needs, they are just untapped,” said Dr Cosmas Ochieng, Executive Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies. Yesterday, the Kenyan Government committed 13.2 billion Kenyan Shillings for geothermal power development.
Alongside technological innovations, participants at the workshop agreed that in order for low carbon development to be successful social, institutional, and policy changes are needed. Furthermore, ideas from within Africa, and tailored to African contexts, are required. “The agendas do not always have to be set from New York. We can set agendas right here,” said Hon. Perks Ligoya, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Malawi to the Republic of Kenya, speaking at the workshop.
Prof Ian Scoones, Director of the ESRC STEPS Centre at the University of Sussex, UK, said that political debate was needed about the best ways to achieve low carbon transformation. “We want to challenge the idea that there’s a single way to achieve low carbon transition”, he added.
The STEPS Africa Sustainability Hub, launched at the workshop, is the first STEPS Hub in sub-Saharan Africa joining five existing hubs in the Pathways to Sustainability Global Consortium. The CS said: “The launch of the STEPS Africa Sustainability Hub is a huge contribution that will bring together researchers from across the continent to work on research promoting pro-poor low carbon economic development.”
Picture: Judi Wakhungu speaks at the event. Credit: M. Mwango/ACTS
Notes for Editors
The Low Carbon Development in Africa workshop is being held from 10-12 June 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop brings together 100 international delegates drawn from government, industry, universities and civil society to explore and share ideas and approaches on pathways towards developing low carbon economies.
The workshop is jointly hosted by the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), the STEPS Centre at the University of Sussex, the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS), the Stockholm Energy Institute (SEI), and Practical Action. The three-day workshop includes high-level discussions on how to encourage low-carbon development and promote pro-poor energy development with leading academics, researchers, and high-level government officials.
The workshop also marks the official launch of the STEPS Africa Sustainability Hub. The new hub is part of the Pathways to Sustainability Global Consortium, which is a group of six global research hubs located in South Asia, China, Europe, Latin America, North America, and now Africa to tackle sustainability challenges facing the world.
The six sustainability hubs are linked through the STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre at the University of Sussex, UK.
The Africa Sustainability Hub is the first STEPS Hub in Africa, and will bring together researchers from across the continent to work collaboratively on research promoting pro-poor low carbon economic development. The Africa Sustainability Hub is being led by four core partners; the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), the STEPS Centre, the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS, and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), with a secretariat being based at ACTS.
Partners of the Africa Sustainability Hub
The African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) is a pioneering development research think tank on harnessing applications of science, technology and innovation policies for sustainable development in Africa. ACTS is an Intergovernmental organization founded in 1988 to pursue policy oriented research towards strengthening the capacity of African countries and institutions to harness science and technology for sustainable development. ACTS envisions a sustainable economic, social and environmental future for Africa, through science, technology and innovation.
The ESRC STEPS Centre (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement centre uniting development studies with science and technology studies, founded in 2005. Funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Centre’s cross-cutting work covers agriculture & food; energy & climate change; health & disease and water & sanitation. STEPS convened the Pathways to Sustainability Global Consortium in 2015.
The African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) is a trans-disciplinary network of researchers, policymakers, private sector actors and the civil society that promote the generation, dissemination, use and mastery of science, technology, and innovation (STI) for African development, environmental sustainability and global inclusion. Established 20 years ago, ATPS’s mission is to “improve the quality of science, technology and innovation systems research and policy making in Africa by strengthening capacity for science and technology knowledge generation, communication and dissemination, use and mastery for sustainable development in Africa”. ATPS has over 1,500 members and 3000 stakeholders in over 51 countries in 5 continents with institutional partnerships worldwide. We implement our programs through members in national chapters established in 30 countries (27 in Africa and 3 Diaspora chapters in the Australia, United States of America, and United Kingdom).
The Stockholm Environment Institute is an independent international research institute. We have been engaged in environment and development issues at local, national, regional and global policy levels for more than 25 years. SEI was formally established in 1989 by the Swedish Government. Our goal is to bring about change for sustainable development by bridging science and policy. We do this by providing integrated analysis that supports decision-makers. The institute has built a reputation for rigorous and objective scientific analysis in the field of environment and development.The mission of SEI’s Africa Centre is to support close collaboration with African organizations and networks on key environmental and development issues.The Africa Centre provides a hub for SEI’s engagements across the continent, and works actively to make connections with research and policy organizations.
For more information please contact:
Millie Mwango, African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS): M.Mwango@acts-net.org