Scottish Government invests in clean energy at COP28

First Minister confirms clean energy investments for Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda.

New funding to provide clean and reliable energy in three African countries has been announced by First Minister Humza Yousaf at COP28.

Speaking at a Under2 Coalition General Assembly earlier today, the First Minister confirmed funding for two initiatives to provide affordable and clean energy through the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund.

Operating theatre service KidsOR is to receive £324,900 for solar energy installation at 15 children’s operating theatres across Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda to provide a clean and reliable power supply, which will dramatically reduce hospital carbon emissions.

The Scottish Government will also provide £250,000 to enable financing of mini-grids to increase access to electricity in Zambia and help accelerate access to clean cooking methods in Rwanda through Sustainable Energy for All, an international organisation working in partnership with the UN with private and public sector support.

The First Minister said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to playing its part as a good global citizen and helping to tackle global challenges like poverty, injustice and inequality.

“These initiatives illustrate what that means in practice – whether it is providing energy security to ensure that paediatric operations can reliably go ahead, or access to cleaner methods of cooking to reduce premature deaths from household air pollution. 

“Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda are key partner countries for Scotland’s international development efforts. As a country that has long benefitted from the industrialisation which has contributed to the current climate crisis, it is only right that Scotland contributes its fair share to support countries that have been disproportionately impacted by its consequences, and ensure we can meet the aims of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals together.”


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The Under2 Coalition is a coalition of subnational governments that aims to achieve greenhouse gases emissions mitigation.

The Scottish Government has previously worked with KidsOR to facilitate the establishment of seven state of the art paediatric operating rooms. Despite having among the highest solar radiation levels in the world, access to reliable and affordable energy is restricted across Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia. Postponed surgeries or surgeries interrupted by the failure of equipment can lead to patient injuries, including permanent disabilities and fatalities.

The solar energy systems are specifically designed for safe surgery in low-resource settings, and harness the power of the sun to provide a reliable, safe and clean power supply, which will dramatically reduce hospital carbon emissions (removing approximately 2.6 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere per operating room every year).

According to the IEA, around 2.3 billion people lack access to clean cooking facilities, relying instead on the traditional use of solid biomass, kerosene, or coal as their primary cooking fuel. Household air pollution, mostly from cooking smoke, is linked to around 3.7 million premature deaths a year. In the past, progress has been very limited compared to electricity access.

Sustainable Energy for All is an international organisation working in partnership with the United Nations, leaders in government, the private sector, financial institutions and civil society with a goal to drive further, faster action toward achieving sustainable energy access (Sustainable Development Goal 7).


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