Sunday, August 29, 2010

Comesa to Create Fund to Support Smaller African Carbon Trade Projects

Comesa, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is setting up a carbon finance facility to enable its member states to access the carbon markets.

The fund is designed to support smaller, broad-based community development projects with early-stage seed capital as well as transaction costs and early-stage CER payments, Kurt van Duyn, chief executive officer of Aggelos Investment Holdings said.

Van Duyn’s firm, a Mauritius-based consultancy, has been hired by Comesa to set up the fund and raise capital. Aggelos will spearhead a fund-raising road event in October intended to solicit money pledged in Copenhagen last year.

Comesa climate change coordinator Chikakula Miti said the organization hopes to raise around $1 billion over the next three years from various international donors and sovereign funds.

The Government of Norway is supporting the creation of the fund with about $4 million from a $50 million grant it invested in Comesa’s Program on Climate Change, Van Duyn said in a telephone interview.

Part of the money will be spent setting up a corporate office in Mauritius and an operational office in either South Africa or Zambia to administer the fund, he said.

The fund will be hosted at the Kenya-based Preferential Trade Area (PTA) Bank, Comesa’s financial arm, the group said on its website.

The first call for project proposals will take place mid- September and will award funding to between 30 and 40 projects selected from Comesa’s 19 member countries, Van Duyn said.

The fund will remain open and will expand its scope to include a total of 26 countries from the East African Community, the Southern Africa Development Community and certain West African states, he said.

The carbon facility will invest in offsets from conservation agriculture, forestry, and small-scale renewable energy projects - the kind of initiatives “that don’t attract the big players,” Van Duyn said.