[CAVIE-ACCI] The new Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold Chain (ACES) has received $3.5 million in funding from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).
Based in Rwanda, the cooling centre aims to help get African farmers’ produce to market quickly and efficiently, reducing food waste, increasing profits and creating jobs. In addition, ACES is looking to improve cold-chains for vaccines and health.
ACES is a collaboration between the governments of Rwanda and the UK, UNEP’s United for Efficiency (U4E) initiative and several universities.
Located in Kigali, the centre aims to address the challenges of how to create local and global ‘field to fork’ connectivity and mitigate food loss. ACES looks to support the roll out of sustainable post-harvest management and cold-chain pan-Africa.
The centre claims to offer commercial partners an opportunity to develop and demonstrate pathways to deliver affordable, lowest carbon emissions cooling and cold-chain systems, while meeting Africa’s social and economic cooling need.
According to the press release, 73% of Rwanda workforce is employed in agriculture, dominated by six million small and marginal farmers. The project supports Rwanda’s strategy to double agricultural exports by 2024-25 and significantly increase exports of aqua-culture, beef and other temperature-sensitive products.
Defra’s investment will be used to support the centre’s design and technology, the work of its British university partners, the University of Rwanda and its hiring of the first-ACES dedicated academics as host of the centre.
UNEP’s ACES lead and U4E cooling portfolio manager, Brian Holuj, said: “After over three years of strategic planning and development, we are delighted to have a permanent home and world-class team coming into place at the ACES headquarters in Kigali. The first Living Laboratory is being prepared to set the stage for similar collaborative efforts with showcase communities throughout Africa.”
Associated “Living Labs” will conduct research and offer technical assistance to the ACES hub. The first Living Lab in rural Rwanda is anticipated for launch in 2022, with additional ones being explored by African governments to scale up the reach of ACES.
By Emma Upshall