Build Climate Response Around Renewables, IRENA Urges Leaders

Public and private sector leaders are being urged to double annual investments in renewable energy to keep the world well below 2°C of warming, says a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

With just 11 years left for action to limit the effects of climate change, annual investments of USD 4.3 trillion in the energy sector until 2030 is the world's most practical and readily available climate solution. 

Annual renewable energy investments for the next decade need to double from around USD 330 billion to nearly USD 750 billion per year until 2030. 

The findings form part of a new climate investment report by IRENA that highlights how cumulative global energy investments must pivot overwhelmingly towards low-carbon technologies including renewables.

More than USD 18.6 trillion of planned fossil-fuel investments by 2050 need to be redirected to hold the line called for by the Paris Agreement and reaffirmed by the recent special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Despite the urgency, current investment patterns show a stark mismatch with the pathway necessary to ensure a climate-safe future. Together, renewable energy and energy efficiency, along with deeper electrification, can deliver 90 per cent of the energy-related emission cuts needed under the Paris Agreement.  

"It's possible to limit climate change and meet the world's growing energy demand by rapidly accelerating the speed at which we deploy renewable energy," said IRENA's Director-General Francesco La Camera.

"Only an energy transformation driven by renewables will allow us to meet the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement. Renewables are the only ready and available instrument we have to hold the 1.5°C line over the next 11 years."

"In meeting climate goals, we can also boost economic growth and deliver on sustainable development with renewables," continued Mr. La Camera.

"But there is an urgent need to rethink long-term energy investment decisions to ensure they lead us to the sustainable future we need. Doubling investments in renewables offers us a tremendous opportunity to improve health, create jobs, deliver economic opportunity and tackle climate change. No other solution is as plausible."

Transforming the energy system with renewables offers a more cost-effective path than climate inaction. Every dollar invested in the energy transition will offer returns of up to three to seven times in improved human health, lower climate related expenditure and reduced subsidies.

But accelerating renewable energy deployment requires policies that create an enabling environment to unlock investment and encourage economic development, the new report concludes.

IRENA will work closer to the ground, facilitating projects and assisting countries in building attractive investment frameworks for renewables. The Agency will also enhance cooperation with the private sector, international financial institutions and multilateral organisations.

In support of the UN Secretary General's call for decisive climate action, IRENA has launched a campaign that underpins renewable energy as a practical climate action solution.

In co-operation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Agency's "Lead the change. It's possible with renewables" campaign aims to inform about the potential of renewable energy technologies and in turn encourage concrete climate action.

Speke Group Top Hotels To Host Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference

Speke Group of Hotels will provide 5 of the 20 hotels approved by the organizing committee for the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) scheduled to run from 22 to 29 September 2019.

The steering committee on accommodation chaired by Nakaseke North Member of Parliament Syda Bbumba selected Speke Group's Kabira Country Club, Speke Hotel, Royal Suites Bugolobi, Speke Resort and Conference Centre and Munyonyo Commonwealth Hotel as the main host hotel.

Bbumba said Munyonyo was the preferred choice of the United Kingdom Head of delegation while Greg Petzer, the General Manager of Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort said they are more than ready to host the event.

“We have had enough time to prepare and ensure that the resort is ready. Our workers have been retooled and are aware of the importance of the conference to the country,” Petzer said.

The 2019 CPC is running under the theme, ‘Adaptation, Engagement and Evolution of Parliaments in a Rapidly Changing Commonwealth’.

According to a description on the 2019 CPC website, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) was founded in 1911 as the Empire Parliamentary Association and was run in the United Kingdom. Originally, it comprised Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

It would later change the name in 1948, a plan that saw the coming on board of most Commonwealth. It also has an independent, fully-fledged secretariat based in London, financed by all member states.

The annual flagship event is bringing together Parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and decision-makers from across the Commonwealth.

Delegates started arriving Sunday and were being received by Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.

During the meeting, being hosted by the parliament of Uganda, Commonwealth Parliamentarians will address global issues and the evolution of parliamentary democracy.

Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Trains Butlers

In the hotel and the entire hospitality industry, the human resource can make or break the business especially due to poor service delivery and customer care.

Well aware of this risk, Uganda’s leading 5-star luxury resort, Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, continues to train its staff so that they can deliver on the promise made to their customers.

Recently, the resort hotel announced it had trained over 30 butlers in an attempt to satisfy their valued guests who choose them above other hotels in the country.

In the hotel business, butlers look after the needs of guests while at the hotel and within their rooms.

Butler responsibilities include greeting and checking in guests, unpacking luggage, laundry services, making dining and entertainment arrangements and keeping guest rooms and suites up to the hotel and guest standards.

Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort and their sister hotel Speke Resort have been busy lately as they are the preferred choice for many foreigners visiting Uganda for business and leisure.

In March this year during Africa Now conference, Africa’s 8th richest person- billionaire Strive Masiyiwa was awed by the classic beauty of Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort and proposed that it is recognized as “the official African Conference Centre.”

And with the growing Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism, Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort has invested tremendously to ensure that it fits the global billing it has garnered over the years.

Specifically constructed to host the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort has earned worldwide recognition as ‘the Presidents’ hotel’ for hosting numerous high profile guests, from Heads of State to foreign dignitaries and international celebrities, who consider it a home away from home.

Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort is dedicated to providing unrivalled comfort and unmatched service. Boasting 59 Presidential suites, with a unique blend of traditional Ugandan and ultra-modern furnishings that merge into the Pearl of Africa theme carried through the entire décor.

Mixed-use Is The Key To Funding Hotel Development In Africa

A new report from JLL, the world's largest professional services firm specialising in real estate, has revealed that people seeking to finance a new hotel project in Africa will be much more successful if their hotel is part of a mixed-use development.

JLL's research into global property transactions reveals that in the first half of 2019, there was a 42% increase in the value of mixed-use property transactions, whereas there was a decline in other sectors, with Office down 4%, Industrial down 6%, Retail down 20%, Hotel down 18% and alternatives down 40%.

Xander Nijnens, Executive Vice-President, JLL Sub-Saharan Africa, explains that the trend is driven by lenders' approach to risk. He said: "Diversifying risk by including alternative types of property, commercial, retail, hotel and branded residences, in one development, provides comfort to financiers due to the diverse and more consistent income streams generated.

Branded residences are also increasing in prevalence because they provide up-front cash inflows and a more predictable source of revenue than one gets from a hotel alone."

In Africa, the leading funders of hospitality construction projects are government-backed Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) like International Finance Corporation (IFC), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the CDC Group, Proparco and the German Investment Corporation (DEG).

They are motivated by economic development, skills development and job creation and have a lower requirement for the predictable, consistent loan repayments required by a commercial bank. DFIs are also able to stomach more risk.

A driving factor for this trend is that hotels rent their rooms in euros and US dollars rather than in local currency which, from a financing perspective, reduces the risk to the lender and lowers the interest rate paid by the borrower.

The research comes a week ahead of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), Africa's highest profile gathering of the hospitality and tourism industry, which takes place in Addis Ababa on September 23-25.

Speke Resort To Host 2019 Real Estate Expo

Speke Resort and Conference Center continues to be the preferred choice for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism in Uganda because of its outstanding and luxurious facilities.

This year alone the Resort has hosted some of the country’s high profile conferences attracting high-end delegates from within the region, Africa and beyond.

And in November, Speke Resort will host the increasing important 7th Annual Uganda Real Estate Investment Conference & Expo (UREC) from Wed 20th - Fri 22th under the theme ‘building opportunities, creating cities.’

The conference and expo is organized by the Real Estate Association of Uganda (AREA). It is an International Real Estate Conference gathering experts and real estate industry influencers from all over the world to connect, learn, network, share and transact.

Attending UREC will enable you to connect with global influential industry leaders, builders, developers, real estate professionals, global institutional investors.

Among the topics discussed at the conference are building sustainable cities, managing construction costs, maximizing profits, understanding regulatory regimes and investment opportunities in East Africa.

Kabira Country Club To Add Luxury Apartments

Construction of fully furnished and serviced apartments by Kabira Country Club commenced early this month with a ground breaking ceremony.

Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the proprietor of Kabira Country Club, told CEO East Africa that the 269 serviced apartments located on Old Kira Road, just next to Kabira Country Club, are targeting corporate, leisure and family travelers for both short and long stays.

“These will be fully furnished and serviced apartments built to British standards. They will have a fully fitted modern kitchen, double glazed sound proof windows, LED flat screen TVs with customized sets of channels, complimentary high speed Wi-Fi internet, air conditioning, ample parking space and 24 hour security,” Dr. Ruparelia told CEO East Africa.

The one, two and three bedroom apartments will sit on four acres of land. Two levels of underground parking are also being planned. Dr. Ruparelia said contruction of the luxury apartments will take about 30 months to complete.

Ruparelia Group has heavily invested in luxury apartments across Kampala that have significantly played a big role in boosting the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors.

Some of these apartments include Bukoto Heights in Kamwokya, Speke Apartments Wampewo in Kololo, Kingdom Kampala on Nile Avenue, Kampala Boulevard on Kampala Road, Crane Plaza in Kamwokya, and Speke Apartments Kitante which was recently launched.

How Many Reports Will It Take To Start Acting On Climate Change?

By John Leary

Farmers feed the world. But they're doing it wrong – rather, big agribusiness is conditioning them to do it wrong. Farming methods are destroying the planet and leaving most smallholder farmers destitute.

On the deteriorating farmlands of Sub-Saharan Africa, I've seen mothers, fathers, and children work long, back-breaking hours on their small plots of maize, soy, cotton, rice and peanuts. And it pains me to know their hard work will ultimately prove futile. 

The widespread use of monocrop agriculture is obliterating the potential of farmlands around the globe and leaving a wake of environmental, social and economic ruin in its path. Deforestation done in the name of "feeding the world" is causing a breakdown in biodiversity and carbon stores, making it harder to grow food and contributing to a warming planet. 

I am not surprised by the findings of several major reports from the scientific community this past year. The UN has warned that immediate change is necessary to avoid more catastrophes; the UN-backed report in May announced that one million species are at risk of extinction because of land degradation; and last week the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change reported exactly what I wrote in One Shot: Trees as our last chance for survival two and a half years ago, that we must change the way we grow food. We must replace chemical fertilizers and processed animal feeds with trees that fertilize and grow food. We must diversify, not intensify. This way, we can bring agriculture closer to sustainability. 

These reports come from accredited institutions and offer real, scientific proof that our planet is in trouble and much of the problem is directly tied to farming and deforestation. While I am not surprised by what these scientists are saying, I am amazed at how the headlines convey this as a new realization, and that the fleeting concern they create still does not inspire people to action. 

Throughout the world, more and more monocropped fields are grown mostly for livestock feed. We're mowing down trees to grow food for our food, and both the fertilizers for the feed and the manure from the livestock are having negative effects on soil, water, and the climate.

For thirty years, Trees for the Future has championed the power of trees, agroforestry, and crop diversity. And for three decades, we've acted on that knowledge. We've transformed smallholder farming with the Forest Garden Approach – a methodology that guides farmers in strategically planting thousands of trees, shrubs, fruits, and vegetables. We're combining our agroforestry and permaculture expertise with farmers' knowledge and experience, and we have created a new form of agriculture that meets humanity's needs now and into the future.

In 30 years we've planted more than 160 million trees and we expect to add over 20 million more trees this year alone. We have proven that maintaining tree cover around our planet and across our agricultural lands is absolutely essential for our long term survival.

When trees flourish, so do communities. Farmers can feed their families healthy produce, send their children to school, and live fulfilling lives. All the while, these trees are sequestering carbon and revitalizing ecosystems.

So let me ask, how many more reports do you need to see before you act?

Trees for the Future has the solution and we are actively working with passionate and dedicated farmers to make the changes we need to see in our food system. 

It's time to start changing at every level. I challenge you to grow your own food, eat locally, reduce your meat consumption, and support organizations that aren't just talking about the problem, but that are doing something that affects sustainable change.

Our community of individual donors, business partners, and collaborating organizations has made the last 30 years possible. Their confidence in us has been a never-ending source of inspiration for our team to dig deeper and work harder, just like the farmers we serve. I thank each and every one of you.

Together, we enter the UN Decade of Landscape Restoration with all the right knowledge to make the meaningful global change we know is possible. Our sustainable and regenerative Forest Garden Approach is attracting more partners every day.

As we work closely with farmers on their land, we also share our Forest Garden Approach with the public, giving anyone with the will to learn the ability to plant their own Forest Gardens. 

Unfortunately, we still have to turn away farmers interested in our program because we don't have the resources to take them on. But you can change that. You can make it possible for us to say "Yes, let's get planting!"

John Leary is the Executive Director of Trees for the Future

Speke Resort: You Can Now Get Weekend Package Rates On Public Holidays

Customers of Speke Resort Munyonyo and Commonwealth Resort have more reasons to cement their loyalty to the five-star hotels seating at the shores of Lake Victoria idyllically.

Management at the expansive and luxurious hotels have said their customers can now weekend package rates on public holidays. This means that customers can pay for the price of weekend rates if a public holiday falls on a weekday.

The Rooms Division Manager, Speke and Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, Ajit Singh, said this offer is for the public holidays recognized and announced by the government of Uganda.

“Yes that's right, our popular Weekend Package Room Rates are now extended to Public Holidays falling on weekdays. So come and enjoy Public Holidays in style at Speke Resort & Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort.” Ajit said in an email to customers.

Speke Resort has seven categories of rooms - 292 deluxe rooms (single + double), 11 one-bedroom suites, 10 Presidential cottages, 55 Executive rooms, 55 Executive suites, 04 Presidential suites. Executive suites and executive rooms are interconnecting and can together make 55 presidential suites.

The rooms have air conditioning, toiletries, telephone, internet, television, personal safe, daily cleaning service, 24 hrs room service, health club – free for guests, laundry service on charge, iron & iron board on request, newspaper on request, hairdryer, minibar on request.

The two hotels under the Ruparelia Group have other amenities like the Gym, Swimming Pool, The Spa, Sports & Fitness Center, Kids Activities, Indoor & Outdoor Wedding Venues, Conference & Meeting Facilities, The Marina Experience, Pony Camp, Restaurant & Bars, Lake Grill and an Olympic Swimming Pool.

Addis Ababa Leads Africa In Hotel Room Rates

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, posted Africa’s highest average daily rate (ADR), according to the most recent 12-month data from STR. The market will play host to the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) on 23-25 September at the Sheraton Addis.

From July 2018 through June 2019, Addis Ababa registered an absolute ADR of US$163.79 when measured in constant currency, which removes the effects of inflation.

That figure was a 1.1% increase year over year. The next closest STR-defined markets in Africa were Accra Area, Ghana (US$160.34) and Lagos Area, Nigeria (US$132.51).

“Addis Ababa continues to maintain high ADR levels when compared internationally,” said Thomas Emanuel, a director for STR.

“The city has multiple demand drivers, such as a growing economy, successful airline and its status as the diplomatic capital for Africa. Air connections and ease of access compared with other cities also factor in the equation for strong demand, which provides hoteliers with the confidence to maintain rate levels.

“With healthy performance comes interest in investment. The market’s pipeline is strong with 22 hotels and 4,820 rooms in active development. We will continue to monitor these new openings to see how the market reacts once these additional rooms open.”

Emanuel will present the latest hotel performance and development insights on the Tuesday (24 September) of AHIF.

“Hosting high-profile international meetings like AHIF is one factor that has helped Addis to maintain its position as the city with the most expensive hotel accommodation in Africa,” said Matthew Weihs, Managing Director, Bench Events.

“Our delegates will be looking carefully to see if the addition of a lot more high-quality accommodation and meeting space will depress room rates or help Addis become even more attractive as a destination.”

Addis Ababa’s occupancy over the same 12-month time period was 58.4%, up 6.5% year over year. Cairo & Giza was the continent’s occupancy leader at 74.5%. Cape Town Centre, South Africa (65.0%), ranked second in the metric followed by Accra Area (59.7%).

Khyber Pass Restaurant Goes Indian For Kampala Restaurant Week Menu

Khyber Pass Restaurant derives its name from the great mountainous pass way in the Indian sub-continent – particularly northern Pakistan, near the mountains neighboring Afghanistan.

And Khyber Pass Restaurant at Speke Hotel carries the Indian spirit right here in Kampala, Nile Avenue. It offers clients a fine dining experience and takes them on a culinary voyage quite unlike any other.

And this year, they bring the same Indian spirit as they participate in the ongoing Kampala Restaurant Week. They will be showcasing the best of Indian delightful cuisines and menus.

Their participating dishes include Chapati Gobhi, Tandoori Wings for starters and Chapati Sabzi and Kadai Murgh. For desserts, they serving Gulab Jamun with Ice cream and Malai Kulfi.

The Chapati Gobhi is made of cauliflower florets pan roasted, sauteed in onion-tomato and flavoured with pickled spices while the Tandoori Wings is a combo ofspicy tandoori chicken wings, grilled to perfection, are made with yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, garam masala, red chili powder and turmeric.

The Chapati Sabzi, a mix of vegetables cooked in a combination of indian spices and Kadai Murgh, a delicious, spicy and flavorful dish made with chicken, onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and fresh ground spices known as kadai Masala make up the main course.

Gulab Jamun with Ice cream, a make of fried cheese balls soaked in sugar syrup served hot and Malai Kulfi, an Indian frozen dessert made from whole milk, heavy cream, khoya and sugar make up the dessert.

The starters and dessert will come at a price of Shs20, 000 while the main dish will come for a cool Shs35, 000.

Khyber Pass today remains the top destination for experiencing its renowned Indian dishes – gosht sheek kebabs and the legendary tandoori chicken. A favourite with locals and tourists, the restaurant is a simple, no-frills and authentic dining experience.

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