Zimbabwe President assures protection of Arab investment in the carbon trading sector.

– The planned deal may bring US$ 1.5 billion of climate finance into the country, a Blue Carbon General Trading official said.

John Cassim

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Blue Carbon General Trading Chairman His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum during the officialsigning of the Conservation Agreement in Harare

Harare, Zimbabwe (CZ) – Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has assured that the carbon trading investment by an Arab company, Blue Carbon General Trading, will be protected.

He made the commitment in Harare on Friday, on behalf of his government, during the signing ceremony of the Conservation Agreement between Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates-based company.

“In addition to our Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed on August 14, 2023, and the Conservation Agreement, signed today, be assured that your investment will be protected by law through investment protection, carbon trading, and bilateral cooperation statutes,” Mnangagwa said.

Mnangagwa further stated that his government will support the work to be undertaken by the agreement and international standards governing the forestry sector.

Blue Carbon General Trading is a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based company whose wings in the carbon sector are likely going to spread to over 7 million hectares.

According to Blue Carbon Chairman Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, the planned deal may bring US$1.5 billion of climate finance into the country.

Sheikh made the announcement during the signing ceremony in Harare.

“In the presence of His Excellency, the President of the Government of Zimbabwe, we come together to sign this historic partnership to develop carbon credits to help the Zimbabwean economy.

“A large portion of the sales will be spent on community engagement and on the local population.”

“Today I am also proud to announce that we are also signing an MOU with the government to facilitate bringing US$1.5 billion through carbon credit financing,” Sheikh said.

Legal framework

The signing of the conservation agreement between Zimbabwe and the Arab company comes just a few days after the amendment of the country’s carbon law that was first enacted in August.

The amendment now allows developers to keep 70% of the profits, compared to the 50% that was stipulated in May.

The state will still keep 30% and distribute it to the Treasury, appropriate local authorities, and investments into climate change adaptation.

This now means the developers will no longer be required to hand over a quarter of their 70% share of profit to local communities, according to the amendment gazetted on September 26.

Zimbabwe did not have any form of regulation of the carbon credit sector until May of this year, when the government all of a sudden cancelled all existing contracts.

Players were left wondering whether to pack bags and leave or to comply until a law known as SI 150 of 2023 was introduced in August.

-Concerns over community shares

Consultants and community leaders in the country have already raised concern that the amendment is stripping the indigenous people of the power to negotiate for more benefits, yet they are the ones who bear the brunt of climate change effects.

Some believe the amendment is meant to accommodate the interests of the investors ahead of the wishes of the communities.

However, Mnangagwa said his government will facilitate the opportunities within a framework that provides win-win benefits to both parties, including communities.

Through this agreement, it is our sincere hope that the project will be implemented with the highest levels of environmental and social safeguards.

The economic infrastructure and social benefits deriving from the project should be visible and tangible for local communities, who are stakeholders,” Mnangagwa said.

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