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Kick-starting Africa’s carbon markets: success stories from the field
Standard Bank Team
Super Contributor
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There was little rest in Durban the past weekend as discussions and other events continued around COP17.

Standard Bank Group and United Nations Environment Programme hosted an event to showcase successful carbon investment projects in Africa that have been supported by the African Carbon Asset Development facility (see http://www.acadfacility.org).

Attended by about 30 developers, investors, and local experts, the interactive dialogue allowed for sharing practical lessons learned by African Carbon Asset Development partners (United Nations Environment Programme, Standard Bank Group and the German Environment Ministry) and beneficiaries (green entrepreneurs) on how to make carbon finance work for Africa.

Alex Berger, Director of AAP Carbon, explained how a groundbreaking technology that can generate heat and electric power from waste gases from ferrochrome smelting had been piloted with a financing plan including carbon credit revenue.

The International Ferro Metals (IFM) plant near Rustenberg, South Africa is already operational, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 200 000 tons a year. Berger explained how the project benefited from United Nations Environment Programme support to tackle challenges to CDM registration: the project is in the final stages of registration and has received the premium Gold Standard certification.

Following IFM and AAP Carbon’s successful demonstration of the climate-friendly technology, significant investor interest in replicating the project has already been manifested.

Kevin Fruin, a South African small business owner, highlighted the big scope of opportunity for mainstreaming energy efficient brick production off the ground in the country. Noting that the construction sector accounts for almost 30% of South Africa’s GHG emissions, and that there were 200 clay brick SMEs in South Africa alone, Fruin counts among a small cohort of businesses piloting a cleaner production technology known as the Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln (VSBK).

This brick-firing technology has already proven its ability to save manufacturers at least 50% on coal use while reducing CO2 emissions and air pollutants such as soot and black carbon. ACAD is supporting the development of a national CDM program to scale-up these demonstration projects to the rest of the sector, through financial advisory, legal due diligence, and a customized carbon auditing tool for participating SMEs.

The session also provided some 30 participants an opportunity to learn more about how to benefit from ACAD’s grant making and training activities. The partnership addresses key barriers that have hindered greater uptake of carbon projects in Africa, providing a package of technical assistance, seed capital, and specialized advisory services to both green entrepreneurs and banks across Africa.
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