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African knowledge center for sustainable cooling opens its doors

The so-called ‘African Center of Excellence’ is a knowledge center for sustainable refrigeration and the cold chain in Rwanda with the aim of bringing farmers’ products to the market quickly and efficiently, reducing food waste, increasing profits and creating new jobs.

Based in Kigali, the new knowledge center aims to connect the country’s farmers, logistics service providers and food companies with a range of experts and investors.

Rwanda’s Cooling Initiative (RCOOL), supported by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) through its United for Efficiency (U4E) programme, provides the foundation for the new Centre, which is part of the country’s National Cooling Strategy, launched in 2019.

Data is required to make this investment economically sustainable. As countries face the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining economic activity, creating jobs and supporting the most vulnerable becomes an urgent priority. Cooling and cold chains support these economic necessities. Specifically, the Centre will be a boost for Rwanda, where farming accounts for some 30% of national GDP and 73% of the workforce is directly employed in agriculture.

The project supports Rwanda’s National Agricultural Export Development Board’s (NAEB) five-year strategy to double agricultural exports by 2024-25 and significantly increase exports of aqua-culture, beef and other temperature sensitive products.

Ultimately, with the support of the Centre of Excellence, farmers can benefit from best practices on business models, training facilities, and “Living Labs” where the latest technology is demonstrated and proven with those intended to use it. The Centre will help Rwanda’s policymakers shape a sustainable cold chain blueprint for the country and the continent.

Source: UN Environment Program

Foto credit: Alamy