Rwanda: Rwanda Secures Funding to Curb Emissions From Fridges, Air Conditioners

Rwanda, the United Nations Environment Programme, University of Birmingham and fellow project partners will receive £4 million to drive down harmful emissions from outdated air conditioning units, cooling refrigeration and cold supply chains.

The eco-friendly investment seeks to protect ozone layer which protects the planet from harmful ultraviolet rays.

The funding will be provided in May this year as part of Defra’s £21 million Sustainable Cooling and Cold Chain Solutions programme.

The funding was announced on April 20.

UK Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “This funding will help developing countries to play their part in tackling climate change and communities across the world with storing food and medicines more efficiently – as well as support farmers to increase their productivity.”

The funding will also help improve cold-chain management for fruits and vegetables.

In sub-Saharan Africa, small-holder farmers contribute 80 per cent of food produced and about 37 per cent of all food is lost between production and consumption, and almost 50 per cent of fruits and vegetables are lost mainly due to improper cold-chain management.

A lack of adequate cold storage and refrigerated transport vehicles to support medical supply chains in developing economies currently contributes to over 1.5 million vaccine preventable deaths each year.

Estimates suggest that 25 per cent of vaccines reach their destination with degraded efficacy mainly due to failures within the cold-chains.

Officials from Rwanda’s Ministry of Environment reiterated the country’s commitment to the development of the Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-chain (ACES) headquarters in Kigali, which will be launched in late 2023.

Professor Toby Peters, Professor in Cold Economy at University of Birmingham and Heriot-Watt University is leading the collaboration of UK Universities supporting this work in Africa and India.

He said: “Sustainable and equitable cooling and cold-chain is now more than ever critical infrastructure in a warming world. Food saved is as important as food produced.”

“This programme for the first time delivers in an integrated approach that includes on-the-ground training and support for subsistence farmers and their communities, financeable business models and the network of skilled engineers needed to support equipment installation and maintenance. This work is underpinned by the evidence strategies required for the development of sustainable cold-chain and community cooling,” he said.

He added: “In so doing, ACES can simultaneously deliver against multiple global challenges including mitigating climate change and environmental impacts of meeting new cooling demand; reduce food loss converting it into increased farmers’ incomes and food security and affordability for consumers and design the next generation of vaccine cold-chains that are efficient, resilient, responsive and sustainable.”

Alongside the UK funding commitments, the Government of Rwanda are overseeing the development of key campus infrastructure to support the Centre.

The consortium of Rwanda and UK universities, including University of Birmingham, Heriot-Watt University, Cranfield University and London South Bank University, are working together in collaboration with international academic and teaching partners and cooling industries to develop the Centre’s teaching and research programs to provide a pipeline of skills and expertise and innovation in cooling technology solutions, systems and models.

UK’s ACES funding is supporting the development of Specialised Outreach and Knowledge Establishments (SPOKEs) to disseminate knowledge and deployment of solutions throughout Africa – the first being in Kenya – as well as technical assistance to replicate the model in India in Telangana and Haryana.

An additional £1.2 million funding from Defra has been allocated to the project partners to further support the development of roadmaps and digital tools to help developing countries design the equitable and resilient and cost-efficient approaches, quantify the full economic environmental and societal impact as well as understand the policy landscape required to implement new approaches.

Rwanda banks on new financing to help restore Ozone layer

Rwanda is considering a new mechanism to ease access to affordable and eco-friendly fridges and air conditioners that are not harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer and causing climate change.

According to information shared by Rwanda Environment Management Authority, there is a scheme dubbed ” A green on-wage financing mechanism ” to make energy-efficient and climate-friendly refrigerators and ACs more affordable.

The scheme is under Rwanda Cooling Finance Initiative (R-COOL FI) to promote energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling and recycling of existing inefficient systems.

The project aims to unlock $4 million in financing to support the purchase of 12,500 energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling products in Rwanda by 2024.

The energy-saving and eco-friendly refrigerators and air conditioners are discounted through credit at a discounted price, she said.

By 2020, Rwanda had drastically reduced, by 54%, the importation of gases known as ‘hydro- chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)’ that deplete the ozone layer as part of implementing the Montreal Protocols.