Participants of the ‘Financing Green Building in Africa’ International Conference, held from 17th-19th September 2013 at the Strathmore
Professionals from diverse finance institutions, academia, architects and real estate associations gathered at the Strathmore University in Nairobi last month, to discuss innovative ways to financing energy and resource efficient buildings in the East Africa.
The discussions that were held from 17th-19th September 2013, at the “‘Financing Green Buildings in Africa” International Conferencewas organized by UN-Habitat along with the Strathmore Energy Research Centre and attended by more than 60 participants.
The conference was opened by the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Strathmore Business School, Dr. George Njenga. In his speech, the DVC highlighted the case for Green Buildings Finance and presented the University’s Business School as a practical example of a viable energy efficient investment. He emphasized the need for an integrated approach towards increasing demand for green buildings in the region.
Ms. Axumite Gebre-Egziabher, Director Regional Office for Africa, on behalf of UN-HABITAT addressed the conference with a message underscoring the severe energy crisis facing the East African countries. She stated that, “the prices of energy will continue rising in the course of this century due to the ever increasing demand for socio-economic development. Cities and urban centres will account for the biggest share of increasing energy consumption, especially under the so-called, “business as usual” scenario.” She further affirmed that, a transformation to sustainable energy systems could trigger strategic innovations, in turn developing new markets for Green Buildings.
Participants deliberated in plenary sessions and parallel events, following presentations by experts from the sector. Day one focused on relevant facts related to green buildings, the role that the financial sector can play and potential barriers and benefits to the financial sector’s involvement. Day two offered guidance for the scaling up of Green Mortgage Finance in East Africa, through exchange of International and regional best practices. Learning was centered on the countries of Mexico and India, where green finance are in place . Day three provided a road map for the transformation of energy use in buildings.
As part of this road map, Mr. Vincent Kitio, Chief of the Urban Energy Unit of UN-Habitat’s reinforced key strategies for promoting a burgeoning green market in the region. He said that there was need for, among others, governments to set green requirements for buildings (public, residential and commercial) and provide financial incentives for the adoption of energy efficient measurers in the industry.
He also called for capacity building and awareness creation among key stakeholders on the significant economic and environmental benefits of green buildings.