The Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold chain (ACES) is being established by the Rwanda Government and United Kingdom Government, United Nations Environment Programme United for Efficiency (UNEP U4E), the Centre for Sustainable Cooling, and academics in both countries.

ACES is being pursued through the Rwanda Cooling Initiative (R-COOL), a joint program of UNEP U4E and Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) to advance the country’s sustainable development priorities and ambitions for enhanced collaboration on sustainable cooling throughout the continent. It is in line with key Government commitments to mitigate climate change which is aligned with Kigali amendment to the Montreal protocol and Paris agreement.



The mission of ACES is to develop and accelerate uptake of sustainable cold chain solutions in the agriculture and health sectors.

ACES will economically empower farmers, increase export revenues, enhance job creations in rural areas, mitigate climate and environment impacts, and foster low-carbon development. Food cold chains integrated with other cold-dependent services such as vaccines will be demonstrated in showcase “Living Laboratories” in Rwanda and throughout Africa in the coming years. 

The Centre has been officially launched and is hosted by the University of Rwanda (UR) at Rubirizi campus, Kigali. It will connect local and international experts, investors, private companies, farmers’ organisations, and energy and logistics providers. Living Labs will be deployed in strategic locations in rural areas and will conduct research and offer technical assistance, demonstrations and knowledge transfer to the farmers and rural communities.


Key activities 

ACES is designed in three phases. 

Phase I includes a Cooling Needs Assessment that along with other existing studies, provides the foundational underpinning of the Centre (Q3 2020 – Q2 2021). 

With additional resources, Phase II entails the design and commissioning of the Centre and of an initial Living Laboratory as a demonstration location in a showcase community in Rwanda (Q2 – Q4 2021). 

Phase III aims to scale-up to pan-African Living Laboratories with demonstrations of ACES solutions in communities in numerous countries, demonstrating new technologies and business models and feeding lessons learned back to the Centre in Kigali (Q3 2021 – Q4 2022).

The ACES will Build on the experiences from the Centre for Sustainable Cooling at the University of Birmingham, the African Centre of Excellence in Energy for Sustainable Development (ACEESD) and Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunisation and Health Supply Chain Management (RCESCM) at the University of Rwanda and India Centre of Agricultural Excellence in Post-Harvest Management and Cold Chain, etc.. 

Key documents

  1. ACES flyer
  2. Other documents will be published later


Juliet Kebara, DG, REMA:

Issa Nkurunziza: ACES Lead, UNEP U4E:

Prof. Toby Peters: University of Birmingham:

Brian Holuj: Cooling Portfolio Manager, UNEP U4E:

Dr. Jean Baptiste Ndahetuye, UR:  


Relevant press release