The Vice President of The Gambia, Dr Isatou Touray, recently inaugurated the Renewable Energy Potentials in The Gambia (REPGam) project.
Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the $3.7 million REPGam is a four-year project that would be executed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology and the University of The Gambia (UTG).
The project will also train 210 Gambians in renewable energy technologies.
At the inauguration, Touray said The Gambia contributes an amount of CO2 emissions, therefore, reducing the impacts of climate change through this project is a massive opportunity that The Gambia cannot afford to miss.
According to her, this inauguration would serve as a step in the right direction of implementing The Gambia’s Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs) that were agreed to at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, France, 2015.
Touray also stated the government’s readiness and willingness to give full political support to the REPGam project and all other efforts that will be geared towards reducing the impacts of climate change through mitigation.
“The world is moving towards a green economy and The Gambia will surely not be left behind in that endeavour,” the Vice President said. “The government and The Gambia business sector increasingly understand that there is no tradeoff between a healthy environment and a healthy economy. We can have both at the same time because green business is good business.”
Lamin Dibba, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, emphasised the importance of the project, saying climate change is real and is impacting the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable and poor communities.
What the project intends to achieve, he added, would not only enable The Gambia to achieve its national target, but it would also help to achieve multilateral environment agreements that the Gambia has signed.
Dr Yusupha Touray said the project would provide timely availability of clean and affordable electricity in 23 different communities in The Gambia thereby enhancing those communities’ lives and livelihoods.
The 210 Gambian youth will be trained on photovoltaic system installation, maintenance and franchising, thereby enhancing the skills potentials and increasing the employability of our youth in this new area of technology.
Dr Christoph Rovekamp, the BMBF representative, said the REPGam pilot project will demonstrate how renewables can be utilised in the country in a way that is economically, ecologically and socially feasible.
He further said that the urgency of their action is emphasised by the recently published report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, noting that global warming could happen much faster than previously assumed.
“According to the report, the earth will warm up by more than 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times within the next 20 years if no immediate action is taken,” he said quoting the report.