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Kenya signs deal with telecomms firm to increase forest cover

by Naftali Mwaura NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Thursday signed an agreement with telecommunications firm, Safaricom to expand forest cover through planting an additional five million trees in the next five years.

Peter Kinyua, chairman of Kenya Forest Service (KFS), said the new agreement with Safaricom will promote restoration of depleted forests in north western parts of the country that are a source of livelihood to farmers and herders.

"The agreement we have signed today with Safaricom will involve establishment of indigenous tree seedlings in our protected forests. Restoring the health of this forests is a key to achieve sustainable development," said Kinyua.

The new agreement was announced during the launch of Safaricom’s eighth sustainability report that called for greater involvement of businesses to drive equitable and green growth in Kenya.

Kinyua said the government is keen to partner with the private sector to expand forest cover from the current 7.2 percent to a minimum of 10 percent by 2022.

"We have engaged a number of corporate organizations to help achieve the 10 percent forest cover.

"Recently, some commercial banks agreed to be part of this program to reclaim our forests," said Kinyua.

He said the government is providing space inside protected forests to enable businesses establish tree seedlings and partner with community based groups to promote reforestation.

Stephen Chege, head of corporate affairs at Safaricom, said the company will engage with Kenya Forest Service in a structured manner to tackle depletion of the vital ecosystem that is to blame for disrupting rural livelihoods.

"As a company, we have committed ourselves to support the government expand the forest cover in line with our sustainable business principles," said Chege.

He said that Safaricom has rallied behind environmental stewardship in the light of climate change that has negatively impacted on businesses and community livelihoods.
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UPDATE:

Kenya’s telecom firm pledges support for green growth and inclusivity

by Naftali Mwaura NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s largest telecom firm, Safaricom will scale up investments in programs that advance climate resilience, poverty eradication and inclusivity, senior executives said on Thursday.

Nicholas Nganga, chairman of Safaricom, said the publicly listed company will leverage on its large network coverage, products and innovations to support Kenya’s sustainability agenda.

"We continue to frame sustainability as a business response to the challenges we face as a society, as well as a central facet of our purpose to transform lives," said Nganga during the launch of the 8th edition of Safaricom’s sustainability report.

The report titled "Towards reducing inequalities" shed light on innovative measures Safaricom has adopted to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in its supply chains.

Nganga said the telecom firm has deployed additional resources to advance environmental stewardship, gender parity, inclusive growth, transparency and good governance.

"We have deployed a more advanced approach to our sustainability agenda in 2019, by focusing on activities aimed at reducing inequalities, as envisioned by sustainable development goal 10," said Nganga.

This year’s edition of Safaricom’s sustainability report indicated the company has created about 979,000 direct and indirect jobs through its flagship services like mobile banking.

Stephen Chege, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Safaricom, said the company has adopted sustainable practice aimed at improving the socio-economic welfare of communities and their ecosystems.

"Our business continues to contribute towards successfully improving the quality of life for Kenyans across the country, creating sustainable livelihoods and delivering a wide range of products, services and initiatives that support businesses and families," said Chege.

Sanda Ojiambo, head of corporate responsibility at Safaricom said the company has leveraged on its competitive edge in innovations to promote sustainable farming, climate adaptation and entrepreneurship in Kenya.

"We have taken proactive steps to help reduce inequalities, promote governance and sustainable livelihoods," said Ojiambo adding that Safaricom has adopted robust measures to reduce carbon foot print across its core operations.

           

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