By Adama Tine
The Vice president of the Republic of the Gambia Dr. Isatou Touray on Friday presided over the inauguration of a €2.7 million Renewable Energy Potentials in The Gambia (REPGam) project held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre.
Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), 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).
At the inauguration, VP Touray said the Gambia contributes a very insignificant amount of CO2 emissions that cause climate change. Therefore, she said reducing the impacts of climate change through the project is a massive opportunity that the Gambia cannot afford to miss.
According to her, the 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 in 2015.
She affirmed 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 endeavor. The government and the Gambia business sector increasingly understand that there is no trade off between a healthy environment and a healthy economy. We can have both at the same time because green business is good business,” she added.
Lamin B. Dibba, minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, emphasized 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 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,” he stated.
According to him, we can only solve our environment and agricultural problems as well as challenges through the power of research, science, technology and innovation.
Dr. Yusupha Touray, deputy permanent secretary, Technical, Ministry of Higher Education Research, Science and Technology 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.
“This project will also train 210 Gambian youth nationwide 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,” he noted.
Dr. Christoph Rovekamp, BMBF representative said the REPGam pilot project will demonstrate how renewable energy can be utilized in the country in a way that is economically, ecologically and socially feasible. He further said that global warming could happen much faster than previously assumed.