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South-South trade ‘boosts renewable tech investments’
  • UNEA
  • South-South trade ‘boosts renewable tech investments’

Copyright: Flickr/UNEP

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  • Developing nations had about a third of global renewable tech installed in 2013

  • It could help them attain green economies, which could spur viable development

  • But sub-standard tech made in developing countries is an issue, says an expert

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[NAIROBI] There has been significant increase in investments in green technology among the countries in the developing world as a result of decreasing cost of manufacturing them, a new report says.
 
The report launched at first session of  the United Nations Environment Assembly taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, this week (23-27 June) also says that substantial trade in renewable energy has been recorded among South-South — developing world — countries and is growing faster than that in the global trade and that from the developed to the developing world.
 
According to the report the technologies include solar energy panels, wind power generating sets and water treatment equipment. It says that developing countries accounted for more than one-third of renewable technologies capacity installed in the world in 2013.

“Adoption of renewable and recyclable technologies will change the capacity of these countries to invest in them.”
 
Achim Steiner, United Nations Environment Programme

 
The report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) projects that global market in low-carbon and energy-efficient energies will grow to around US$1.9 trillion by 2020.
 
Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary-general and UNEP executive director, said at the launch that this offers developing countries unparalleled opportunity to move to green economies that is crucial in realising sustainable development.
 
“Adoption of renewable and recyclable technologies will change the capacity of these countries to invest in them,” he said during a press conference and added that it is important for the capital markets to move into financing green economy for sustainable growth.
 
According to the report China, Eastern and South-East Asia dominated the trade figures but trade in other areas will also grow. It says that African countries imported wind-powered generating sets from other developing countries worth US$342 million from 2009 to 2013.
South Africa was the largest importer with import portfolio worth US$238 million followed by Ethiopia and Egypt at US$19 million and US$14 million, respectively during the period.
 
But Bernice Heloo, Ghana’s deputy minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said that there are certain challenges that needs to be addressed in the South-South renewable technological cooperation and trade, especially that of sub-standard goods being dumped into Africa.
 
“Some products are not effective enough. For instance, Ghana imported 200,000 lanterns in South-South trade that were found not effective,” she noted.
 
Heloo added that there is need for effective clearing house systems to ensure that sub-standard products are not dumped in Africa, otherwise the continent will end up with huge e-waste  challenge in the near future because of South-South trade. 
 
Developing countries are investing green technologies to manage their natural resources and optimise development pathways, said Steven Stone, chief of UNEP’s Economics and Trade Branch.
 
He added that economies are good at producing goods and jobs, but are also producing liabilities and risks such as contaminated water, land and carbon emissions. 
 
In Kenya, for instance, Stone says, the country is starting to invest in geothermal, solar energy and reducing their dependence on fossil fuel, which reduces their fossil fuel imports that consume parts of their transactions with other countries.
  
The report says that global prices for environmental goods and services, especially renewables energies, have been falling.
 
Link to report.
 
This article has been produced by SciDev.Net's Sub-Saharan Africa desk.
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