Government representatives from Rwanda and the UK have joined the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to sign a Statement of Cooperation at COP27 to help accelerate scaling up of innovative cooling technologies in Africa through the Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-Chain (ACES).
Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, Dr Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya, whose ministry oversees the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), Minister of State The Rt. Hon. Lord Richard Benyon from the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and Emmanuel Nyirinkindi, Vice-President, IFC, signed the agreement at the global climate change event in Egypt.
ACES had already announced at COP 27 that it will work with global cold chain provider, Carrier, to help advance cooling development and training in Africa. Its goal is to accelerate deployment of sustainable (‘environmentally, economically, and socially’), resilient, temperature-controlled, end-to-end connectivity for food and health products. This, it stresses, ‘simultaneously protects quality and safety, minimises loss, and creates and provides equitable value to all stakeholders’.
Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya said: “The signed statement of cooperation indicates the commitment of our two countries, financing institutions, academia, civil society, and others joining hands, to find sustainable solutions to the challenges impacting our environment.
“With ACES, we seek to deploy the best cooling and cold-chain solutions, which are critical to underpinning a prosperous, healthy, integrated, and climate-friendly food supply chain globally.”
Emmanuel Nyirinkindi, Vice-President, IFC, commented: “Working through academic institutions both in the UK and Rwanda, and with the UN Environment Programme, ACES is accelerating the deployment of innovative cooling technologies in Africa to improve livelihoods, boost health, food, and nutritional security, and fuel economic growth. IFC will join REMA and Defra in supporting the Centre’s mission through our TechEmerge Sustainable Cooling Programme. As part of the UK-IFC partnership supporting sustainable cooling innovations, the programme has helped identify, pilot, and field-test, more than 60 innovative cooling technologies in agribusiness, hospitality, and retail, since 2019.
“Our goal is to tap into our collective expertise to help accelerate innovation in the cooling sector, which is key to achieving sustainable growth and improving people’s lives, particularly in emerging markets where the needs are greatest. From reducing food waste to ensuring vaccines can reach communities while also reducing emissions, cooling innovations can have a transformative impact across Africa and beyond. Together, we can make a difference, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of our important work.”
The University of Birmingham plays a leading role in ACES, which is developed with the Governments of UK and Rwanda, and the UN Environment Programme at the University of Rwanda.
Pictured, left to right, are: The Rt. Hon. Lord Richard Benyon, Dr Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya, and Emmanuel Nyirinkindi, Vice-President, IFC, after the signing.