Though the reality of climate change is widely acknowledged in Zimbabwe, the country which is currently facing socio economic challenges has limited resources to implement measures to tackle the challenge.
To complicate matters, there is little to no knowledge of climate finance mechanisms that are available globally. Where knowledge of the finance mechanism exists, there is a general lack of technical skills and capacity to meet stringent requirements. Climate finance involves flows of funds from developed to developing nations to help poorer countries to cut their emissions and adapt to climate change.
East Asia and the Pacific remain the largest destination for climate finance with sub Saharan accessing approximately 2 per cent of $392 billion dollars as per the 2014 statistics.Zimbabwe's Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Oppah Muchinguri is on public record bemoaning the country's inability to secure funding for climate change projects.
Against this background, Hivos Southern Africa's partner under the Green and Inclusive Energy programme, ACtion 24, held a Green Discussion Forum titled: "Unpacking Business Opportunities from National Renewable Energy Policies and Strategies."
The Green Discussions Forum is targeted at stimulating young people in Zimbabwe to actively take part in promoting the green agenda in Zimbabwe. Action 24 seeks to empower young people on issues related to climate change, environment and renewable energy.
Lawrence Mashungu, an official with the MoWCC who was one of the discussants said that Zimbabwe committed to reduce climate emissions by 33 per cent by 2030 and all initiatives need to be geared to achieving this policy ambition. Mashungu said that any application for climate financing needed to acknowledge the ambitions that have been expressed by the Zimbabwean government.
Another discussant, Tawanda Muzamwese, Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe Executive Director, said that Zimbabwe needs 2 billion for the next 10 years to effectively address climate change. He emphasized that renewable energy has a potential to provide employment opportunities to young people.
Muzamwese said that young people lacked capital to invest in research and development making it difficult for them to access financing.
"Young people need to collaborate; once you collaborate you have more leverage. Innovation can also help young people to bridge the gaps that exist," he said.
Tawanda Maguze said that his organisation, Development Reality Institute had set up a green innovations initiative to assist young people to be able to invest in their own ideas. He encouraged young people to engage in ongoing research so that they can tap into opportunities that already exist.
According to Hivos Southern Africa's Green Energy Manager, Reginald Mapfumo, a worrying trend is that Africa in general is not benefitting from climate financing. He said that out of 1,2 million energy jobs created in 2015 Africa accounted for only 50,000 which is very worrying.
Mapfumo added that there was a need to create local financing mechanisms to respond to climate change. He said that its critical for the Zimbabwe government to spend its own funds, particularly on adaptation, and the private sector to invest in low-carbon technologies like renewable energy.