Kagame reiterates Rwanda’s commitment towards decarbonization

On 26 May 2021 at 09:35

President Paul Kagame has reiterated Rwanda’s commitment to support the world’s path to decarbonization by embracing the use of electric vehicles and renewable energy.

Rwanda started using electric vehicles since 2019.

As he attended the United Nation’s Global Roundtable on Extractive Industries yesterday; Kagame thanked the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres for focusing on the role that extractive industries can play in pursuit of sustainable, green energy, and economic development.

“The world in on a path to decarbonization. This implies significant changes to energy policies, particularly around coal and other fossil fuels. But these energy sources won’t disappear overnight,” he said.

“For some developing countries, fossil fuels will remain an important part of the energy mix. However, we can focus on development finance to speed up the transition to renewable energy through investment in new technologies and distribution networks,” added Kagame.

In 2016, over 200 countries convened in Rwanda to approve “The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol”.

Action under the Amendment will help reduce the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons, potent Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions, and thus avoid global warming of up to 0.5° degrees celsius in the 21st Century.

Rwanda became the 39th country to ratify the protocol and implemented strong policies determining the use of cooling products including refrigerators and air conditioners.

Hydrofluorocarbons used in air conditioning and refrigeration electronics are said to be powerful climate-warming gases.

According to REMA, the country has currently reduced ozone-depleting substances by 54 per cent in an effort to fully implement the Montreal protocols by 2030.

However, the journey is still long and more efforts are needed in phasing out the substances.

Rwanda has started restricting imports of air pollutant gases used by fridges and air conditioners in the country to encourage the adoption of non-polluting cooling technologies.

“Rwanda has decided to embark on a shift to electric vehicles in the coming years. Rwanda is also committed to upgrading to clean cooling technologies, in line with the Kigali Amendment to the Montréal Protocol,” said Kagame.

He also stated that mining activities and other extractive industries have a bad reputation, sometimes deservedly while revenues don’t flow where they should in the public interest.

In this particular area, Kagame also stressed that environmental impacts are not accounted for ‘yet minerals and metals are key inputs to many high-tech growth sectors, and Africa is a source of many of these minerals’.

The President said that the recommendations contained in the Secretary General’s Policy Brief provide a roadmap for changing both the perception and the reality of mining and energy production in developing countries.

“What is required is a new compact between Government and the private sector. Today’s global roundtable is an important step in that direction, and I am happy to associate with this effort,” he affirmed.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that transport accounts for around one-fifth of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (24%).

IEA also indicates that 90 percent of the global population breathes unsafe air while 7 million people die every year succumbing to related diseases.

Rwanda also uses electric motorbikes following the inauguration of Ampersand, Africa’s first electric motorcycle company worth 3,5$ million investment which assembles and sells motorcycles with cheap, clean and efficient energy consumption in Kigali.

In May 2019, 20 Ampersand motorcycles began operating in Kigali carrying passengers and luggage to test their usability on the Rwandan market.

Headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda, Ampersand assembles and finances electric motorcycles (‘e-motos’ or ‘e-bodas’) that are cheaper, cleaner and better performing than the 5 million petrol motorcycle taxis in use across East Africa.

Ampersand’s vehicles produce at least 75% less carbon than petrol motorcycles and zero tailpipe emissions. Ampersand also builds and operates a network of battery swap stations, allowing drivers to change batteries faster than refilling a tank with petrol.

Since its commercial launch in May 2019, Ampersand’s fleet of 35 drivers and e-motos have covered over 1.3 million kilometers and over 7000 drivers are on their waiting list.