Sunday, April 14, 2024

Inauguration of ACES Marks Milestone for Resilient Cold-Chain Solutions

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In a momentous event, the Africa Centre for Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-chain (ACES) was officially inaugurated today by the Honourable Rwanda Minister of the Environment, Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya. The ceremony, attended by over 100 dignitaries from both the UK and Rwanda governments, along with international VIPs and guests, marks a significant milestone in the region’s pursuit of sustainable development.

By late summer 2024, ACES will boast an Environment Test Chamber, a pioneering facility set to revolutionize the testing and certification of equipment tailored to African requirements. Additionally, it will host the largest single demonstration of cold-chain equipment, accompanied by cutting-edge training facilities offering inclusive courses.

The journey from concept to physical campus in Kigali has been swift, with the past six months witnessing remarkable progress. Spearheaded by the Government of Rwanda, the construction of a state-of-the-art Demo Hall and extensive campus refurbishment has been completed. New equipment is now arriving on campus, with outreach initiatives extending to the first SPOKE in Kenya.

Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya emphasized the pivotal role of ACES in advancing sustainable, equitable, and resilient food and health systems across Africa. Through leveraging innovative technologies, the center aims to empower farmers, healthcare workers, and stakeholders to mitigate losses, enhance resilience, and foster sustainable development.

Simultaneously, at the inaugural SPOKE in Kenya, community outreach programs, including a “Try Before You Buy” initiative, are being launched to enable farmers to trial technology before making investments. With a strong cohort of trained trainers and technicians, the groundwork is laid for impactful interventions.

Furthermore, rapid strides have been made to bolster vaccine cold-chains and prepare African healthcare systems for the challenges posed by climate change. Initiatives like VaccMap and VaccAir are pioneering novel approaches to enhance vaccine distribution and healthcare worker protection.

With over 60 researchers and experts, including a significant presence from Africa and India, ACES is poised to drive a systemic transformation towards resilience and sustainability. Toby Peters, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Cooling, underscored the pivotal role of ACES in accelerating this transformation, emphasizing its alignment with global objectives of resilience, sustainability, equality, diversity, and inclusion.

The University of Birmingham stands alongside key partners such as the UK and Rwanda governments, UN Environment Programme, and University of Rwanda. This collaborative effort, supported by leading universities and industries, signifies a unified commitment to driving tangible impact and transforming lives on a global scale.

 

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