Thursday, 8 September 2022

Egypt could receive more than USD 1 bn from EBRD for clean energy projects



Good morning from Egypt, where some of the heavy hitters in global finance and climate policy are attending in one of the first major international gatherings in the lead up to COP27.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY- The Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (Egypt-ICF) kicked off with a bang yesterday, with the star of the show being the Egyptian government’s Nexus on Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) program, which landed commitments of over USD 1 bn from the EBRD — and which earned praise from US climate envoy John Kerry, who was in town for the sit-down. We break down yesterday’s events and all of the announcements that came out of it in the news well, below.

We’re kind of excited about day two: The Egypt-ICT continues today and tomorrow with a “rich” lineup of panels and workshops that focus on green and climate financing.

On the agenda: Discussions will include panels on reducing the cost of green borrowing, debt for sustainable investment, a guidebook for just financing, and sustainable budgeting, among others. You can check the full agenda here (pdf).

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION- The global climate press is still fixed on Pakistan’s floods, with a focus on rescue efforts and human interest stories. (Bloomberg | CNN | FT | Reuters | The Guardian)

ELSEWHERE- The WB beat its climate investment target: The World Bank’s climate-related investments totaled USD 31.7 bn in fiscal year 2022, exceeding its climate action plan finance targets for 2021-2025, the bank said in a statement. That’s 1% more than the World Bank’s initial target of having 35% of its lending activities be climate-focused. The institution allocated 19% more to climate finance for FY 2022 than it did the previous year, when it invested USD 26.6 bn.

Morocco gets a nice mention in the statement: The bank allocated a chunk of funding to MENA countries including Morocco, where it deployed USD 185 mn to climate-related funding in climate management and resilience initiatives.

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COUNTDOWN TO COP- Gabon testing its carbon credits at COP27: Gabon’s first USD 90 mn carbon credits program, which will be launched at COP27, will be the litmus test on whether developed economies are willing to curb deforestation, Gabon’s Environment Minister Lee White told Bloomberg. Gabon is collaborating with the UNFCCC REDD+ to create the credits and hopes to use them in innovative ways like “exchanging carbon against debt, creating carbon-backed bonds” but also to fund sustainable forestry, White said. Some 25% of revenues from credits will be divided between various sustainable development goals, while the rest will go towards curbing deforestation, as well as supporting rural communities.

CLIMATE DIPLOMACY- Israel wants to step up work with the UAE on the climate tech front, Israel’s ambassador to the UAE, Amir Hayek, told WAM. Hayek told the newswire that stepping up cooperation in food-tech, agritech and renewable energy “can make the world better.” This comes as the two countries are celebrating the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords signed in September 2020, which saw the two formally establish diplomatic ties.


The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia is hosting its Towards COP27: Arab regional forum on climate finance on 15 September in Beirut. The forum will explore the climate finance needs of Arab countries to ensure water, energy and food security, while showcasing projects that can accelerate climate action

The Wetex and Dubai solar show will run 27-29 September at the Dubai World Trade Center.

Dubai will host World Green Economy Summit on 28-29 September. The summit wants to provide a platform to build consensus around the potential of technologies, policies and youth that could drive the green economy transformation.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.


ICF kicked off with a bank … sorry … bang

Egypt could land funding worth up to USD 1.3 bn from the EBRD: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is ready to provide as much as USD 1.3 bn in funding to support clean energy projects in Egypt, President Odile Renaud-Basso said yesterday. Renaud-Basso pledged to invest USD 1 bn in renewable energy projects and provide a further USD 200-300 mn to fund the energy pillar of the government’s Nexus on Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) program. The announcement came following the EBRD boss’ sit-down with Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister, Rania Al Mashat, on the sidelines of the Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (Egypt-ICF), which kicked off yesterday in the new administrative capital.

Canadian friends: NWFE is not slang for a Newfoundlander: The program, which launched back in July, aims to connect national projects with global climate financing from development finance institutions in the run-up to COP27.

Could more funding come out of the EBRD? Renaud-Basso also discussed “further cooperation” on Egypt’s green projects with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, according to a statement from the office of president.


Could NWFE get support from Washington? US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry gave the program the thumb’s up — and hinted at more funding. “This has the potential to attract bns in investments from donor governments, philanthropy, development finance institutions and the private sector — it’s exactly the kind of innovative thinking we need,” he said at the forum.

He also reaffirmed the Biden administration’s global climate funding commitments: Kerry emphasized the United States’ commitment to helping the international community deliver USD 100 bn annually for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries in his speech. US President Joe Biden has made a budget request for USD 11 bn in climate finance to Congress for the next fiscal year, he said. The Overseas Development Institute suggests that the US is at the bottom of the OECD nations when it comes to delivering its fair share of the USD 100 bn-per-year figure, with Biden’s predecessor at the White House having delivered just USD 2.3 bn in 2020.

Kerry wants to see the private sector do more on climate: “The [International Energy Agency] tells us we need to invest USD 4 tn, every year, in this transition,” he said. “No government on earth can fully fund that level of investment — we can only get there with the full participation of the private sector.” In 2021, the world invested USD 755 bn in the green energy transition — a record figure, but only a third of what is needed to meet the 2030 climate goals, he added.

It’s not just about renewables, but tech as well: “In addition to financing solar and wind farms and retiring coal plants, we also need capital to invest in innovation to scale and bring the next generation of technologies to market,” he said.


The UK’s BII will invest USD 100 mn in Egyptian startups, some of which will be earmarked for green companies: British International Investment (BII, the UK’s development finance institution) plans to invest USD 100 mn in Egyptian startups between now and 2026, it said in a statement.

Climate startups could benefit, with BII saying it wants to develop a blueprint for climate adaptation and renewable energy in water infrastructure and unlock clean energy solutions, like solar, wind and green hydrogen.

BII is hosting a summit on “innovation for impact” in venture capital in Cairo next week, with themes including climate tech and food security. BII has already invested over USD 760 mn in Egypt, including in the Benban solar park.


The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) launched a new initiative to attract investment to climate projects in Africa. The Africa Network, announced at the forum yesterday by GFANZ co-chairman and UN climate envoy Mark Carney, will work with African financial institutions, policymakers and regulators to improve access to climate finance on the continent.

Some very smart Egyptians are on board: Climate czar Mahmoud Mohieldin will chair the network’s advisory board, while Financial Regulatory Authority chief Mohamed Farid will be vice chair. Our friend CIB CEO Hussein Abaza is on the board.


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said that developed countries with higher emissions are more responsible for climate change and should provide more financial support to poorer nations. “Only 20 countries are responsible for about 80% of the effects of climate change. I think it is fair and objective that these nations that bear the largest responsibility significantly contribute to supporting developing countries,” the president said at the forum.


The Egyptian Healthcare Authority will partner with global biotech company AstraZeneca on developing green sustainable health facilities in Sharm El Sheikh, host city of COP27, according to a cabinet statement. The authority aims to transform Sharm El Sheikh International Hospital into Egypt’s first green hospital.

Our friends at Infinity will develop and manage 18 electric vehicle charging stations, while Infinity Power will develop a 6 MWp solar plant in Sharm El Sheikh in preparation for COP27, according to a company statement. Infinity Power is a joint venture between Infinity and UAE renewable energy company Masdar.

EFG Hermes Foundation for Social Development signed an agreement with the country’s Education Ministry to transition 102 schools to solar energy, according to an EFG statement.

Al Mashat announced that Egypt has prepared the Sharm El Sheikh Guidebook for Just Financing. The guide aims to outline the key role of major development finance partners and recipients “in translating financial commitments into implementable projects,” she said in a statement yesterday.

The Arab League will sign a cooperation MoU with the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) at COP27, according to an Arab League statement. No further details were given on the nature of the agreement.


UAE will tightens air pollution regs — indoors and out

SMART POLICY- The UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment launched a program to improve air quality though 2031 at a gathering in Dubai yesterday. The agenda aims to set national standards that will curb air pollution — and will set up a compliance monitoring scheme to track the carbon emissions and pollutants in the UAE, according to statements from the ministry and remarks by the UAE Climate Change and Environment Minister Mariam Al Mheiri at the forum picked up by Zawya.

What can you expect? The agenda, which was approved by the UAE Cabinet in June 2022, will be based on the following pillars:

  • Increasing the reliance on clean energy sources;
  • Launching new projects to reduce air pollution in a number of sectors, including the transport, energy, and construction sectors;
  • Improving indoor air quality by promoting the use of sustainable construction materials;
  • Initiatives to improve waste management, and wastewater treatment facilities;
  • Reducing noise and odor pollution is also on the UAE’s agenda: The UAE will be chart a course to minimize pollutants from the construction, transport, and waste management sectors.


Enterprise Explains: How can Iraq’s severe water shortages be addressed?

Enterprise Explains: Iraq’s water crisis part 2 — How Iraq is and should be addressing its severe water shortages: Iraq is facing extreme water scarcity, threatening the health and livelihoods of its citizens on a huge scale. Many factors contribute to these water shortages, but organizations pushing for action name the biggest culprits as climate change, water negotiations with neighboring Iran and Turkey, widespread pollution of Iraq’s existing water supply, and inefficient water usage from poorly-maintained infrastructure. Today, we look at measures that are being undertaken — or that could be undertaken — to help secure an adequate supply of safe water and to make better use of the water that is available in Iraq.

Missed Part 1 of our coverage on Iraq’s water crisis? We have you covered here.

Iraq is committing USD 100 bn to invest in the green economy with the help of the UN: Iraq’s recently-finalized Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) report “opens a window for USD 100 bn investment in the green economy, from the private and public sectors, over the next 10 years,” the UN notes in a recent press release. The UN is supporting Iraq to design projects that, among other things, promote investment in efficient water and wastewater infrastructure, irrigation and the management of water consumption, it says.

This investment needs to be channeled into diversifying primary water sources: Water-poor Basra, for example, urgently needs diversified water sources, with the construction of a planned desalination plant in Al Faw district a good starting point, argues a 2021 LSE study. Launching major dam reservoir projects is also important, a Mosul University professor argues.

And maintaining water infrastructure: Water systems that are over 50 years old urgently need replacement, notes the LSE study’s lead author. Upgrades to the treatment processes of existing wastewater plants, preventative maintenance, and new plant construction could greatly improve the systems overall, notes a June 2022 report (pdf) by the Water, Peace and Security (WPS) Partnership. But the cost of doing this can be prohibitive, it cautions. Establishing a modern treatment station in Dhi Qar would cost an estimated USD 69 mn, WPS notes the region’s environmental authorities saying.

Budget allocation for water needs to go up: This means that budget allocations by the Iraqi government to maintain water infrastructure need to be much more substantial, the WPS report argues.

Better planning with stakeholder involvement, including the private sector: The government also needs to set plans for better water management at the local, national and regional levels, notes the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in a 2021 study. Plans should be set up in coordination with multiple stakeholders, including local farmers and the private sector, it argues.

Stricter enforcement of regs: Local environmental authorities could play a much bigger role in enforcing penalties for industrial polluters, WPS notes.

And awareness-raising campaigns could help to change wasteful and harmful behavior: National awareness-raising programs could help Iraqi businesses and citizens better understand the consequences of ingrained behavior practices, like directly releasing wastewater from households, slaughterhouses and private businesses, the WPS report says.

Investment and capacity-building could also come from donor governments and DFIs: Donor governments and institutions should support Iraq through direct investment — by revamping or supplying irrigation infrastructure, providing financial support to farmers to buy livestock, or supplying drought-tolerant seeds, for instance — the NRC report argues. They should also provide training to farmers on techniques like rainwater harvesting and to government bodies on water management.

These institutions need to support the Iraqi government so water sharing agreements with countries like Iran and Turkey are adhered to, the NRC notes. “It’s important to keep the water diplomacy channels with Turkey and Iran open, to continue with exchange and dialogue, with negotiations and cooperation over water-related challenges,” notes the WPS report.

Still, cooperation between these countries may be easiest to secure if the focus isn’t purely on quotas for water and resource sharing, argues WPS. More progress might be achieved if the focus is on widespread cooperation through multi-purpose projects, rather than setting, for example, water-sharing quotas, WPS says. This could happen through coordinated multi-country emergency response plans, which could potentially lead to concrete cooperation — including sharing water and other resources — it argues.


Kuwait bourse gets ESG nod

KUDOS- The Kuwaiti stock exchange (Boursa Kuwait) received the most sustainable Practices in ESG award for 2022 by UK business publication Global Business Outlook, according to a statement.

A group of undergraduates from Kuwait University came first in the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management ESG Trading Initiative’s competition, according to a statement picked up by Zawya. The students secured first place by applying ESG metrics and decision making in a simulated environment, the statement tells us. Rotman’s 4-month long initiative, funded by HSBC, was launched to develop the sustainable finance skills of students from MENA.

The latest news on Pakistan relief efforts: The UAE’s Al Ansari Exchange is providing remittances without commission to charitable organizations supporting humanitarian relief efforts in the country, in addition to AED 1 mn in donations to support relief efforts, the company said (pdf).


Worried about water leaks? For Apple users, the Eve Water Guard could be just the ticket

The Eve Water Guard: a user-friendly water leak detection device for iSheep.

Difficult-to-pinpoint water seepages from dishwashers or washing machines are common and annoying. And unfortunately, MENA is particularly vulnerable to water leaks, thanks to maintenance issues in homes and urban infrastructure, and the effects of inclement weather — whether searing summer heat or more unusual recent heavy rain. Enter the second-generation Eve Water Guard, designed for Apple HomeKit users. The second-generation Eve Water Guard, released in February by German company Eve Systems, builds on the offerings of its predecessor, first released in January 2020 — by adding support for Thread networking technology.

Why you should care — water damage brings hefty costs: In the UAE, The National reports one family in Dubai footing a AED 54k bill in 2012 to repair damage from long-undetected pipe leaks, which had led to 1 mn gallons of wasted water. Unwanted water in the home can cause serious structural damage and impact human health. And in Egypt, leakages result in the loss of an estimated 28-29% of drinking water, Enterprise reported in 2020.

The Eve Water Guard tells users about leaks as soon as they happen: The device detects water leaks in the home and alerts users the moment they occur — visually with red flashing warning lights, audibly with a 100 decibel siren, and through notifications to your iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

It also notifies Apple home hub users remotely: Users with home hubs like Apple TV, HomePod or HomePod mini will also get notifications about leaks when they’re away from home. A quick scan of a QR code allows users to install the device through Apple HomeKit, according to iMore. It can then be controlled by any connected Apple device, which picks it as the best smart water leak detector for use with Apple HomeKit, notes home website The Spruce.

Eve Water Guard’s standard sensing cable offers precision and range in detecting leaks: The water guard is one of few smart water leak detectors with a standard sensing cable. This means it offers spot-level detection — a very precise detection of a water drop at any single point, and its 2 meter cable allows it to monitor far more wide-ranging leaks. Cable extensions of up to 150 meters can also be bought.

The device scores props for easy installation and performance: Installing the water guard is straightforward, note reviewers in PC Mag and TechHive. You plug in the main unit, plug in the sensor cable, and then put the cables down in areas where you want to monitor possible leakage. “There's no hub to rely on, no battery to die, and you could blanket an entire basement with enough sensing cable extensions” adds Apple Insider.

And added support for Thread gives Apple users more robust connectivity options: Eve Water Guard supports both Bluetooth and Thread. Like Bluetooth, Thread uses low-power mesh networking technology to connect devices, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices. But connecting Thread-enabled devices can create a more extensive and robust network than what Bluetooth alone can offer, notes Apple Insider.

It’s fairly expensive: The Eve Water Guard is priced at AED 541 on Amazon UAE, with extension cables costing AED 133 each.

No need to apply if you’re not an Apple user: The Eve Water Guard doesn't work on Android devices or support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, PCMag notes. It’s “all about Apple, for better or worse,” adds TechHive.


Netherlands city passes the first ban on meat ads: The Dutch city of Haarlem has passed a motion banning meat ads in public spaces — the first such ban ever, the BBC reports. The motion was initially put forth by the green GroenLinks Party. Naturally, the meat industry was incensed, calling the decision an infringement upon freedom of speech and entrepreneurial freedom.

Dutch cities have had a few such firsts: Amsterdam and The Hague have already banned adverts for the aviation and fossil fuel industries.



15 September (Thursday) UN’s Arab Regional Forum on Climate Finance, United Nations House in Beirut, Lebanon.

20 September (Tuesday) UN Regional Economic Committee for Europe, Geneva, Switzerland.

27-29 September (Tuesday-Thursday): WETEX & Dubai Solar Show, UAE.

28-29 September (Wednesday-Thursday): 8th World Green Economy Summit (WGES), UAE.

28-30 September (Wednesday-Friday): Ethio Weetex- Water, Energy, Electricity, Renewable (Solar, Wind) Energy, Technology Exhibition, Millennium Hall, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


16-21 October (Sunday-Friday): Arab Conference of Plant Protection, Le Royal Hotel, Hammamet, Tunisia.

24-26 October (Monday-Wednesday): International Exhibition of Renewable Energies Clean Energies and Sustainable Development, Centre Des Conventions Mohammed Ben Ahmed, Oran, Algeria.


Sustainability Forum Middle East is taking place in Bahrain.

7-18 November (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.


13-15 December (Tuesday-Thursday): International Renewable Energy Congress, Hammamet, Tunisia.

15 December (Thursday) The UN’s 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), Montreal, Canada.


14-21 January (Saturday-Saturday): Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week takes place in the UAE.

16-18 January (Monday-Wednesday): EcoWASTE, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), UAE.


TBA The second edition of The Arab Green Summit (TAGS), Dubai, UAE

6-8 February (Monday-Wednesday): Saudi International Marine Exhibition and Conference, Hilton Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

MARCH 2023

15-19 March (Wednesday-Sunday): Qatar International Agricultural and Environmental Exhibition, Doha, Qatar.

JUNE 2023

1-3 June (Thursday-Saturday): Envirotec and Energie Expo, UTICA, Tunis, Tunisia.


6-17 November (Monday-Friday): The UAE will host COP28.

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