Kenya opens Africa's first carbon exchange

Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:04pm GMT

By Beatrice Gachenge

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya opened Africa's first climate exchange platform on Thursday, expected to unlock trade in carbon credits on the continent and benefit small scale projects.

Carbon markets are intended to cut the cost of fighting climate change by giving companies the flexibility either to reduce their own greenhouse gases or buy emissions permits.

The Africa Carbon Exchange in east Africa's biggest economy will provide holders of carbon credits with easier access to global markets and information, which in turn is expected to increase foreign investor interest in the region.

"The exchange will pull a lot of foreign direct investments through development of more carbon projects. We will start with a futures market in May and progress to spot once more projects are registered," said Tsuma Charo, chief executive officer at Africa Carbon Exchange (ACX).

Kenya has 17 projects awaiting registration by the executive board of the CDM, while three have already received approval, Charo said.

"In the next five years, Kenya will have attracted about $1 billion in foreign direct investments worth of business in the energy sector alone," he told Reuters.

Schemes, like those under the U.N. Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), promote investments in emission-reducing projects in the developing world by companies and governments in rich nations.

In return for building wind farms or other projects, such investments can earn valuable carbon offsets called certified emission reductions (CERs) that can be sold for profit or used to meet mandatory targets to cut emissions.   Continued...

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