Today, Rwanda’s Ministry of Environment through the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) launched the Rwanda Cooling Initiative’s Green On-Wage (R-COOL GO) financing mechanism – through which environmentally friendly refrigerators and air conditioners will be more widely accessible and affordable in Rwanda.
Eligible salaried employees from the public and private sectors may request loans from participating banks to purchase new cooling appliances that meet strict performance criteria set by the Ministry of Environment through the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) United for Efficiency (U4E) team and the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE).
REMA’s Director General Juliet Kabera noted, “Affordable and accessible cooling solutions are critical to the health and well-being of Rwandan consumers. While we encourage nature-based solutions such as natural shading and ventilation wherever possible, mechanical cooling systems are still essential in many situations. We are delighted to offer a new path for consumers to meet their needs while reducing burdens on the electricity grid and the planet.”
According to U4E’s Project Manager, Brian Holuj, “By bringing together the expertise of the public sector, financial institutions, local vendors, civil society and international partners, Green On-Wage enables an unprecedented opportunity to scale-up adoption of the latest technologies by making them cost-competitive with typical outdated systems that use far more energy and potent greenhouse gasses”.
“R-COOL GO positions Rwanda as a leading country in the implementation of innovative business models that support households to reduce their energy consumption and improve their household economy through the adoption of high-efficiency refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. Institutions such as REMA, EnviroServe, the Bank of Kigali and GT Bank are demonstrating strong leadership and commitment in addressing the country’s climate challenges. The programme also reflects the capacity of Rwanda’s public and private sectors to work together to address the challenges for the benefit of the national economy. UNEP U4E and BASE are very honoured to be able to collaborate with these entities and be part of this great initiative”, Daniel Magallon, CEO of BASE.
R-COOL GO is a consumer finance product in which salaried employees choose their desired refrigerator or air conditioner and request a loan from a participating bank. If the client is deemed eligible following a credit check, the bank pays the vendor who provides the appliance to the client. The employee then repays a loan over a period up to 36 months through monthly deductions of their salary.
Also, as an incentive for consumers to turn-in an old, operable cooling appliance for proper recycling, a rebate voucher is offered that may be used for a 15% discount on a future purchase from the vendor.
So far, Bank of Kigali (BK) and Guarantee Trust Bank (GT Bank) are the participating banks, and vendors 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 milestone in implementing Rwandan’s sustainable development objectives. For example, as part of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the Government developed a National Cooling Strategy (NCS) in 2019 which provides context and identifies priority interventions to optimally address Rwanda’s growing cooling needs in keeping with a green growth pathway.
R-COOL is made possible by funding from the Clean Cooling Collaborative and in-kind contributions from REMA and project partners.