The government of Rwanda on Monday launched a campaign that will enable citizens to acquire environmentally friendly, energy-efficient and more efficient cooling appliances as part of efforts to combat climate change.
The Ministry of Environment, through the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), has launched the Rwanda Cooling Initiative Green On-Wage (R-COOL GO) funding scheme – through which environmentally friendly refrigerators and air conditioners will be more widely available and affordable in Rwanda.
Eligible salaried employees in the public and private sectors can apply for loans from participating banks to purchase new cooling appliances that meet strict performance criteria set by the Ministry of Environment through the Management Authority of environment of Rwanda, in collaboration with United for Efficiency (U4E) of the United Nations Environment Programme. ) and the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy.
REMA’s Managing Director, Juliet Kabera, said, “Affordable and accessible cooling solutions are critical to the health and well-being of Rwandan consumers. Although we encourage nature-based solutions such as natural shading and ventilation wherever possible, mechanical cooling systems are still essential in many situations. We are excited to offer a new way for consumers to meet their needs while reducing the burdens on the power grid and the planet.
According to U4E project manager, Brian Holuj, “By bringing together expertise from the public sector, financial institutions, local suppliers, civil society and international partners, Green On-Wage offers an unprecedented opportunity to expand the adoption of the latest technologies by making them competitive with typical outdated systems that use far more energy and potent greenhouse gases”.
“R-COOL GO positions Rwanda as a leading country in implementing innovative business models that help households reduce their energy consumption and improve their home economy through the adoption of refrigeration and air conditioning systems high yield. Institutions such as REMA, EnviroServe, Bank of Kigali and GT Bank are showing strong leadership and commitment to addressing the country’s climate challenges,”
“The program also reflects the ability of Rwanda’s public and private sectors to work together to address challenges for the benefit of the national economy. UNEP U4E and BASE are very honored to be able to collaborate with these entities and to be part of this great initiative”, Daniel Magallon, CEO of BASE
R-COOL GO is a consumer credit product in which employees choose the desired refrigerator or air conditioner and apply for a loan from a participating bank. If the customer is deemed eligible following a credit check, the bank pays the seller who provides the device to the customer. The employee then repays a loan over a period of up to 36 months through monthly deductions from his salary.
Additionally, to incentivize consumers to hand over an old, working cooling appliance for proper recycling, a rebate coupon is offered that can be used for a 15% discount on a future purchase from the seller. Bank of Kigali (BK) and Guarantee Trust Bank (GT Bank) are the participating banks so far and providers include: Hotpoint Rwanda, Akagera Business Group Africa (ABG), Alien Technologies and Denmar Ltd.
Others are in negotiations to join the initiative. The launch of R-COOL GO is a key step in the implementation of Rwanda’s Sustainable Development Goals. For example, as part of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the government developed a National Cooling Strategy (NCS) in 2019 that provides context and identifies priority interventions to optimally meet growing cooling needs. of Rwanda, in line with a green growth trajectory.