Zimbabwe Bids to Be Africa’s Carbon Credit Trading Center

(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe is making a bid to become the carbon credit trading center for Africa.

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The country aims to register projects generating the offsets on a carbon registry at its dollar-denominated Victoria Falls Stock Exchange, according to a pamphlet from the organizers of a state-backed conference, the Africa Voluntary Carbon Markets Forum, scheduled from July 3-9 in the resort of Victoria Falls.

“The forum aims to create a pan African focused register of carbon credits to be traded on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange,” the pamphlet sent to Bloomberg on Wednesday said. “A key highlight of the forum will be the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between key stakeholders to establish the Pan-African Voluntary Carbon Credit Register and Victoria Falls Stock Exchange Carbon Market.”

Attendees and speakers from Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya have been confirmed, it said.

Victoria Falls Stock Exchange plans to set up trading in carbon credits by September, seeking to capitalize on sweeping changes to how production of the securities will be regulated in the country.

Last week Zimbabwe’s government decreed that half of the revenue of all carbon-credit programs will now go to the government and at least 20% to local investors. All the projects have to be registered with the state, it said, adding that the unregulated nature of the trade had seen most of the proceeds flowing out the country.

The Zimbabwean government’s announcement roiled the $2 billion global market for the offsets, which are bought by producers of the climate-warming gases to compensate for their emissions. The decision highlighted that the viability of projects can be jeopardized by unexpected orders by governments who argue they should be benefiting more from projects on their territory.

Each carbon credit represents a ton of carbon dioxide equivalent either removed from the atmosphere or prevented from entering it.

In an earlier interview, Justin Bgoni, the chief executive officer of the exchange, said it will allow trade in securities approved by the Zimbabwean government from September.

The southern African nation is the world’s 12th largest creator of offsets, with 4.2 million credits from 30 registered projects last year, according to BloombergNEF.

The country’s biggest project is in the northern area of Kariba, covering a 785,000-hectare (1.94 million-acre) swath of forest and is operated in part by South Pole, the world’s leading seller of offsets.

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