[NAIROBI] Kenya has announced plans to establish a regional carbon emissions trading scheme to steer Africa's carbon market.
This would hopefully position the country as the continent's carbon credit trade hub, finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta said in his budget speech to parliament earlier this month (10 June).
Kenyatta said a framework for carbon trading — in which polluters buy and sell the right to emit carbon — would be set up to outline how to register to participate in the scheme, how revenue would be shared and how to ensure accountability.
The framework would also describe development areas to be funded by the resources generated from the scheme.
Kenyatta said a carbon credit investment framework would help streamline conservation efforts and alleviate poverty in the country, saying it had the potential to attract billions of Kenyan shillings annually.
The government also allocated 58 billion Kenyan shillings (US$721 million) for environmental conservation in the 2010/11 financial year — a more than 50 per cent rise from the previous year's US$473 million.
Out of this, US$640 million will go to the environment, water and sanitation sectors, in efforts aimed at reversing what many see as Kenya's battered biodiversity systems.
"Efforts must be made through comprehensive environmental conservation to forestall the adverse effects of climate change in order to reverse damages to our scarce arable land, water and biodiversity resources," Kenyatta told parliament.
"The government recognises that the restoration of ecosystems provides the key to reducing poverty, creating employment and improving food security."
Fredrick Njau, of the Nairobi-based Green Belt Movement, told SciDev.Net he believed the trading scheme would improve the livelihoods of communities by generating money in exchange for trees planted.
"This is the first time in the past 30 years that communities are set to benefit from planting trees in this country," he said.
Claudia Ringler, a senior research fellow at the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute, said: "It is certainly laudable that Kenya plans to set up a regional emissions trading scheme for Africa.
"[But] setting up such a system is highly complex and will require a large amount of resources and capacity development. It is not clear if the government has the will or the resources needed to both develop and keep such a system alive.
"Secondly, while a Kenya-based scheme could and should support poor rural smallholder farmers in the country, reaching out to farmers, pastoralists and those in charge of conserving forests will be even more complex, and has yet to be achieved at scale by existing voluntary carbon markets."
Supported by the Simon Cumbers Media Fund, Photojournalist Lar Boland documented the solar technology training of 4 Grandmothers (pictured with mentor) at Rajasthan's Barefoot College and their return to Togo.
Puppetry is used for training at the Barefoot College as many of the women being trained are illiterate. Photo: Lar Boland.
An Indian instructor who herself trained at the Barefoot College demonstrates the working of electronic panels to the Togolese solar grandmothers. Photo: Lar Boland.
A trainee working on the installation of a mobile solar lamp. Photo: Lar Boland.
Togoalise is one of the four Solar Grandmothers from the remote village of Agome Sevah in Togo. Photo: Lar Boland.
Akouavi is one of the four Solar Grandmothers from the remote village of Agome Sevah in Togo. Photo: Lar Boland.
Hotitode is one of the four Solar Grandmothers from the remote village of Agome Sevah in Togo. Photo: Lar Boland.
Mialo Tassi is one of the four Solar Grandmothers from the remote village of Agome Sevah in Togo. Photo: Lar Boland.
On their return to Agome Sevah, the Solar Grandmothers are greeted by the Chief of the village. Photo: Lar Boland.
Having returned to Agome Sevah after a six month training period at the Barefoot College, the Solar Grandmothers set about training others at their workshop. Photo: Lar Boland.
A group of Solar Grandmothers and helpers on their way to erecting solar panels at a small village home in Agame Sevah, Togo. Photo: Lar Boland.
Mialo Tassi, a Solar Grandmother, on her way to erecting solar panels at a small village home in Agome Sevah. Photo: Lar Boland.
Akouavi, a Solar Grandmother from Agome Sevah erecting solar panels at a small village home. Photo: Lar Boland.
Solar Grandmothers outside a newly built clinic which they are about to solar electrify. Photo: Lar Boland.
Solar Grandmothers install solar panels on the roof of the newly built clinic in Agome Sevah. Photo: Lar Boland.
A family from the rural village of Agome Sevah have their daily wash in the Mono river which seperates Togo from Benin. Photo: Lar Boland.
The much used Mono river which divides Togo and Benin. Photo: Lar Boland.
The river Mono between Togo and Benin is regularily crossed by traders. Photo: Lar Boland.
Children fishing in the Mono River. Photo: Lar Boland.
Petrol bought at a reduced price in Benin, and smuggled across the Mono river, is later sold on the streets of Togo, such as the capital Lome. Photo: Lar Boland.
Everyday life in Agome Sevah. Photo: Lar Boland.
A Togo war veteran with his grandaughter. Photo: Lar Boland.
A man builds a small dwelling in Agome Sevah. Photo: Lar Boland.
Children can now study in the evening with the help of solar power. In Togo, near the equator, it gets dark at around 5:30. Photo: Lar Boland.