On December 5, GGGI led an event on Rwanda’s Green Growth Principles and Strategies as part of the very first Rwanda Green Growth Week in Kigali. This week is a series of events bringing together policy makers and practitioners from across the country, continent and the world to share experiences in green growth and climate resilient development.
At the very beginning of the event, GGGI Country Representative Innocent Kabenga highlighted in his welcome remarks how the implementation of green growth strategies provides a role for everyone in the country, enabling sustainable stewardship of the environment for future generations. He mentioned, among ongoing initiatives, the work on the Bugesera International Airport being built according to green building standards; the development of the Green Building Minimum Compliance guidelines with Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA); work in secondary cities with Ministry of Infrastructure, and support to Rwanda’s Green Fund, as a few examples of the ongoing partnership between the Government of Rwanda and GGGI.
Edward Kyazze, Manager of Urbanization and Human Settlements Division at the Ministry of Infrastructure, said in his Opening Remarks how in Africa, East Africa is still the least urbanized, yet, it is among the fastest urbanizing sub-regions with 4.17% percent urban growth yearly. He emphasized that Rwanda is at the forefront of this list in the region, with an annual urban growth rate of 4.5%. Kyazze continued: “Considering the above challenges, Rwanda sees the opportunities by putting a greater emphasis on building a green and climate resilient society. This is exemplified by the decision to integrate green growth principles into urbanization starting with the review of the National Urbanization Policy as well as working closely with partners like GGGI to develop a National Roadmap for Green Secondary Cities Development, and the Rwanda Country Planning Framework”.
The event consisted of two panel discussions and two presentations sessions, all highly relevant to Rwanda’s current path of green growth. Panels and sessions introduced the joint work of the Government of Rwanda and GGGI and served as a platform for stakeholders to share knowledge on innovative work on green growth and wide-ranging, cross-cutting issues including sustainable urban planning, resource efficient green infrastructure, competitive local economy and creation of decent green jobs.
A panel discussion on ‘Opportunities and Challenges of Green Growth in Rwanda’ moderated by Okechukwu Daniel Ogbonnaya, GGGI Rwanda Lead Program Advisor, provided insights on barriers to accessing finance for green technology for the country’s transformation, uneven development of urban areas and emerging infrastructure gaps, as well as additional skills and capacities needed for green growth plans. All speakers on the panel, Coletha Ruhamya, Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority, Bright Ntare, Programme Manager, Rwanda’s Green Fund (FONERWA), Hanane Hafraoui, Economic/Low Carbon Advisor of DFID, and the host Innocent Kabenga, agreed that it is right time for Rwanda to further its plans to create an enabling environment for technology transfer for green growth, in addition to the tremendous progress that has already been made. The panelists suggested that projects of both large-scale development and small-scale green technologies need to be incubated and given support, particularly those related to climate adaptation in Rwanda. The panelists agreed that investment needs to be unlocked from both domestic and international sources to leverage gains from technologies already developed.
Following the panel, several sessions were held on green growth policy framework, featuring several presenters from the Government of Rwanda, GGGI country programs operating across African continent, and other stakeholders who presented updates on the implementation of their green growth projects and programmes. Presenters also made a strong case for partnerships in green growth and for channeling efforts in Rwanda into common goals.
The last panel focused on Green Investment Services: Opportunities and Challenges for Least Developed Countries was moderated by Alex Mulisa, GGGI Manager at Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA), with panelists: Edward Kyazze of Ministry of Infrastructure, Christophe Assicot, and Anthony Owusu Annan both GGGI specialists on investments and finance. Panel shared with the audience that financing green growth could be profitable, and can generate higher returns than doing business as usual.
Coletha Ruhamya, Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) in her closing remarks stated: “We appreciate the support that GGGI is providing across the various sectors that are integral to sustainable development including building and construction, public transport and green mobility, and strengthening the sustainable urbanization process of Rwanda’s secondary cities”. She continued: “The government recognises the important role partnerships play and we look forward to strengthening and deepening our partnership with GGGI to achieve the goals of the National Strategy for Transformation and the Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy”.