Zambian entrepreneur helps communities create their own energy from waste

Jane Jamila Nakasumu, 27, founded her own company called Greenbelt Energy in Zambia in 2015 to fulfill the need for renewable and sustainable energy.

Zambia, a landlocked southern African country, is home to many wild landscapes and limitless biodiversity. It also has the highest rate of deforestation on the continent.

Despite his company’s ongoing efforts, Nakasumu wants to see more consideration for Zambians. Air pollution caused by coal and fuel smoke is estimated to cause nearly 7,000 deaths each year in Zambia.

For Nakasumu, the trigger for founding Greenbelt Energy was his grandmother’s partial blindness, after years of exposure to charcoal smoke through cooking.

Now, with the help of a team of volunteers, he visits rural communities to introduce them to the use of biogas. This natural gas is produced by fermenting organic matter to obtain a source of heat and electricity.

Can you describe your company’s work?

My social enterprise has helped communities create their own energy from usable waste as feedstock. We worked with rural agricultural communities in Chongwe to set up biodigesters where farm waste, including animal manure, was used to create biogas as a safe cooking gas, providing access to affordable energy. Biogas is used for cooking, heating, lighting and even electricity. So far, we have worked with five farmers and trained 100 youth in biogas and renewable energy.

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You recently took part in a panel discussion at COP27. Can you tell us more about that?

I was approached by WWF Zambia to be part of local discussions at COP27 about promoting cleantech in the agricultural sector and mitigating loss and damage. I believe this is important for Zambia, as the lead negotiator of the African Group of Negotiators at COP27.

At the panel discussion hosted by ActionAid Zambia for Africa Climate Week at Global Platform Denmark, I was joined by climate activists who shared personal experiences on ‘Tackling Loss and Damage from a Zambian Perspective.’

About 60% of Zambia’s population has been affected by loss and damage, and Africa alone faces the risk of losing US$45bil (RM206bil) of agricultural production. As a young Zambian climate activist, I demand equal climate justice from all countries. The world should not demand that Africa reduce its emissions while they operate their coal power plants.

Do you think Zambia has been involved enough in recent years on environmental issues during other climate summits?

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It is important to bring the conversation about deforestation back to the table, especially since not much has been achieved since COP26, and discuss renewable energy especially in terms of clean cooking energy and greengas. Greenbelt Energy turns waste into greengas that can be used for cooking, heating and electricity. We need to accelerate the energy transition to greener fuels and technologies.

Zambia along with other developing countries have not fully benefited from climate summits because the developing world is responsible for (78%) of global greenhouse gas emissions, but the effects of climate change are more felt by developing countries. There is no adequate liability who pays for loss and damage.

COP27 is here, and for a year, world leaders have forgotten what they said at COP26. Faced with an energy crisis in Europe, coal-fired plants reopened as if nothing had happened at COP26. Going forward, we need a broader enforcement mechanism for all resolutions.

Zambia has the highest rate of deforestation in Africa and is dealing with loss and damage. We need to put a bigger budget towards renewable energy and support cleantech innovators.

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COP27 was delayed by a day, on Nov 19, so this summit was one of the longest. What did you think of the final results?

I am impressed by the level of climate finance commitments made by various countries and look forward to seeing the agreements implemented. I hope to see climate finance reach the most vulnerable and threatened countries and communities. Climate finance must be decentralized to achieve this. Communities and groups should be able to easily access climate finance for their adaptation initiatives.

The US announced a new Energy Transition Accelerator to support developing countries in their clean energy transition. The new initiative is expected to run until 2030, possibly extending to 2035. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand and Scotland have pledged to provide funding to developing countries to help them cope with the damage and losses caused by climate change. climate. According to the 2022 State Of The Global Climate report, there is an urgent need to strengthen climate adaptation finance. However, the finance needed to implement adaptation plans is still far from where it should be. – AFP Relaxnews


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