Kenya has finalised a national policy that will enable ordinary citizens benefit from revenue accrued from green energy projects in the form of carbon credits paid as compensation for not emitting environmentally polluting gases when generating power.
The government confirmed on Wednesday during the World Environment Day celebrations in Nairobi that the policy is now complete and will be released to the public for debate soon.
"Our intention is to see to it that ordinary people are able to benefit from revenue generated through carbon trading," said Alexander Akusa, the Coordinator of Climate Change Coordination Unit at the Office of the Prime Minister.
The new policy has been developed by the Ministry of Finance in coordination with the Office of the Prime Minister.
Among the key proposals by the proposed policy is the introduction of a carbon credits exchange market at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) to make Kenya the hub of trading carbon credits in Africa and offer an opportunity for retail investors' benefit from this trade.
Kenya already hosts the Africa Carbon Exchange, a stock market for environment assets, where buyers bid for and buy carbon credit certificates on offer.
Carbon credit is a system where one tonne of carbon dioxide or other environmentally harmful gases are traded, giving the buyer of one unit or carbon credit the right to emit similar volume of the gas while the seller benefits from undertaking an activity that reduces the emission of a similar quantity of the harmful gases.
Beneficiaries are usually investors in green energy projects like wind power, geothermal, solar power and certain hydropower projects that do not interfere with the environment in their development or operations.
Buyers are mostly industrialized or newly industrialized countries whose industries depend on fossil fuels.
Mr Akusa said Kenya's Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources has also developed a National Climate Change Roadmap that will add to the policy measures that are being taken to ensure the country fully benefits from the carbon credits market.
"The intention of all these policy initiatives is to ensure that the private sector drives the growth of green economy. We want to create awareness and also appropriate facilitation for generating income from the green activities," said Mr Akusa.
"Early this year, the Office of the Prime Minister invited all organizations dealing with climate change issues and the green economy to submit their profiles. Out of the 260 organizations that did, most are community based organisations and non-profit groups. A negligible number of them are private companies.
"We want this to change," said Akusa in an interview with new agency Xinhua in Nairobi.
Kenya is currently pursuing a deliberate policy of developing climate change adaptation projects instead of mitigation projects because the country emits insignificant volume of environmentally harmful gases.
"The beauty with climate change adaptation projects is that they help accelerate the development of a green economy in our country and enable Kenyan benefit from arising benefits like carbon credit revenues," said Mr Akusa.