Former South African president Jacob Zuma has announced plans to introduce 2 million Russian carbon credits to the stock exchange market. The deal, made with the help of Belarussian intermediaries, was announced during Zuma’s speech at the Africa Voluntary Carbon Credits Market Forum.
The origin of the credits, which are from former Soviet Union territories, could deter investors due to the controversial connections between Russia, Belarus, and Zimbabwe. All three countries are subject to restrictions imposed by the US, UK, and European Union. The credits were generated between 2008 and 2012 under the United Nations carbon market established by the Kyoto Protocol.
The credits originate from a forestry program in Siberia, according to authorities from the National Agency of Investment and Privatisation in Belarus. However, given Zuma’s controversial past and his current corruption trial related to gun trading deals, there may be skepticism around the deal.
The Victoria Falls Securities Exchange, represented by CEO Justin Bgoni, has expressed interest in Africa-generated offset credits. All parties involved are set to discuss the matter further in the coming days.
During his presidency, Zuma faced criticism from the climate community for halting a successful renewable energy program and focusing on developing a nuclear power plant in collaboration with Russian companies. This controversial track record may further impact investor interest in the Russian carbon credits.
As Africa aims to assert itself in the carbon offset trading market, the introduction of Russian carbon credits through this deal could have both positive and negative implications. While it provides an opportunity for South Africa to engage in carbon offset trading, the controversial origin of the credits and Zuma’s involvement may hinder investor confidence and raise concerns about transparency and accountability.