The New Times (Kigali)
14 September 2008
Posted to the web 15 September 2008
A Canadian-based carbon offset development company intendshas manifested its will to extend services in Rwanda where, it has emerged.
The company wants to conduct forest-based offset programmes in the country's deforested areas. Areas, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect was signed between, the company and Canadian signed on Friday with the Multisector Investment Group (MIG). revealed.
ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates, Inc. says that it is specialized in forest-based carbon offset development and it has been doing it in places like Canada's British Columbia Province and Latin America's Ecuador.
"Now the company wants to invest millions of dollars in Rwanda in afforestation and reforestation works if the government agrees," says its Chief Operations Officer, Eng. Bart Simmons.
He adds: "There is an economic benefit than just going into the forests and cut all the trees either for charcoal or for whatever reasons they are cutting down the forests," he said in an interview with SundayTimes on Friday(September 12, 2008).
He explained that the company wants to encourage people to plant trees by paying them for the trees they plant and pay them climate saving compensations from the money provided by giant global firms polluting the air, based especially in North America and Europe.
The input of the planted trees can be quantified into the rate of carbon emissions they reduce and the owners paid money for it, Bart said it.
"The main thing in that is to try to create an economic driver for the people on the grounds, the small land owners not to go in and create the destructions or degradation on the park but to create other economical activities," he explained.
He revealed that their company would invest over US$ 1,000,000 in the activities beginning by the end of this year and the beginning of next year if they sign a carbon offset framework agreement with the government of Rwanda.
Then they will be investing about US$ 800,000 in the activities every year for a period of twenty years. The money is collected from global firms and international organizations that are willing to lend a hand in curbing down the effects of global warming and climate change.
"There is a cost that international people are willing to finance to mitigate climate change," said Dr. Eliane Ubalijoro, Adjunct Professor of Practice for Public-Private Sector Partnerships with McGill University's Centre for Developing-Area Studies in Montreal, Canada.
In the MoU, ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates, Inc. agreed with MIG, a Rwandan-based investment company set up to support small to medium sized enterprises in the South-Western part of Rwanda that MIG will be the local implementer of all the projects undertaken by the Canadian company.
"I have to say that we need such a programme in many areas of Rwanda especially in those areas that used to be forests' banks, that used to provide water for rivers, and to ensure that they are re-protected," said Chairman of MIG, Central Bank Governor François Kanimba, as he commended the Canadian company's initiatives.
Rwanda is the first country in Africa in which ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates, Inc. is trying to extend its services.
The move is seen as both an economic investment and an environmental conservation initiative in the country, according to Emmanuel Muhawenimana, the representative of Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA) in Canada.
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