Kenya’s Lamu coal project hits dead end

Kenya’s Lamu coal project hits dead end

Chinese President Xi Jinping said earlier this week that China will step up support for other developing countries in promoting green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad.

Xi made the announcement during his speech via video link at the General Debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

This means plans to rekindle a coal power plant in Lamu are virtually over after China’s flip.

Kenya had hoped to set up the 1050 megawatt (MW) coal plant which would be the largest and the region and the first in the country.

Chinese financiers including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) were tipped to be the biggest financiers for the project.

In November 2019, the African Development Bank (AfDB) withdrew its plans to fund a coal-fired power plant project in Kenya, saying it had no plans to finance new coal plants in future, senior AfDB officials told Reuters.

At a congerence in South Africa, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina said the bank took environmental concerns seriously and was focusing on renewable energy, adding that coal projects risked becoming “stranded assets” on the AfDB’s balance sheet.

According to AfDB’s Vice President “(AfDB) did not move forward with the Lamu Coal transaction and had no plans to do so in the future,”

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) welcomed China’s announcement to increase support for green and low-carbon energy generation in developing countries and stop building new coal-fired projects overseas.

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“This is a bold and consequential step for China and for the rest of the world. It is also a clear signal of the country’s concrete commitment to global efforts to address one of the most pressing issues of our time,” said Jin Liqun, president of the AIIB.

Jin said that the international community must continue to work together to agree on a clear pathway to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement with a sense of urgency.

“AIIB is committed to working with China and all of our members in their efforts to implement their Paris commitments to put our world on a path to a sustainable future,” he said.

AIIB has set a target to invest half of its annual direct financing into projects linked to climate change mitigation by 2025. In 2020, the bank said that 41 percent of the bank’s total funding went to climate finance.

At the 75th session of the UNGA in September last year, Xi announced via video that China aims to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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