South-South Knowledge Exchange: New Ideas and Connections on Private Sector Climate Adaptation

November 21, 2022

The private sector can play a significant and transformative role in helping communities and developing countries adapt and build resilience to climate change. This was the main theme that emerged from a recent two-day South-South knowledge exchange workshop hosted by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation (MOIC) in Cairo, Egypt on September 7 and 8, 2022.

The workshop was held in the margins of the second edition of the Egypt – International Cooperation Forum and the joint meeting of African Ministers of Finance, Economy, and Environment for COP 27.

The Enhancing Private Sector Engagement in Adaptation: South-South Learning workshop facilitated learning on how to accelerate private sector engagement in climate adaptation and resilience, particularly in the areas of agriculture, water, and energy. It brought together diverse stakeholders, including government, development institutions, and private sector representatives from across Africa to share examples of successes and challenges in delivering adaptation investments with the involvement of the private sector.

The first day of the workshop focused on the role of the private sector as a critical partner to close the adaptation finance gap. Discussions delved into the opportunities and constraints of achieving climate resilience through private sector engagement, engaging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and sharing from a few young African entrepreneurs on pioneering technologies and unique approaches to address climate risks and vulnerabilities. The second day allowed for a deeper dive into 3 sectors: agriculture, water, and energy as well as reflections from the different stakeholders on how they can play a role to catalyze and support investments from the private sector in climate adaptation.

The host country, Egypt, invited representatives from Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Uganda, and Zambia – all countries supported by CIF’s Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) – to share their experiences. The meeting allowed participants to share their own stories and draw on the experience and knowledge of the CIF which has delivered climate finance to over 400 projects in 72 developing and middle-income countries around the world.

Views from the Participants

Ifeoluwa Olatayo is a young entrepreneur from Nigeria. She started Soupah Limited, a company that uses hydroponic technology to grow food to help diminish the impact of climate change on agricultural production. She says in the past, she thought of the private sector as being “really laid back” and not proactive enough on climate adaptation and resilience issues. This meeting has connected her to others who want to make an impact, as well as tap into their knowledge and expertise.

Ifeoluwa says, “I have gained a lot of knowledge of what can be replicated in my country when it comes to solutions from other entrepreneurs and other actors in the value chain. I have also made huge connections that would help our business move … to scale.”

Max Fontaine traveled to Cairo from Madagascar where he founded Bôndy, a social enterprise focused on reforestation. Meetings like these demonstrate the power of generating new ideas through collective learning. As Max notes, “This event is really useful for a climate entrepreneur like me because it allows me to meet other government officials, international institutions, and other climate entrepreneurs from Africa to exchange on adaptation and resilience issues and how we can build and realize country projects that can impact on the short and long run. I really hope to go back to my country with new ideas, new contacts, and a new vision.”

From Mozambique, Joao Carlos Frade is Vice-President of the Directorate of Land and Environment at the Confederation of Mozambique Business Associations. He says he learned much from the discussions and particularly from his Malagasy colleague, Max Fontaine, whose insights on forestation can be useful for Mozambique as well.

Joao explains, “We talked about mitigation and adaptation issues on agriculture, irrigation, sanitation, and many other issues. Also, the experience of Madagascar on bamboo charcoal processing is definitely something I will share with my colleagues back home.”

Ahead of COP27 in November this year, CIF is committed to fulfilling its mandate as a learning laboratory for climate finance and will continue offer knowledge-sharing platforms for South-South exchange. And as these three participants illustrate, reaching out to the private sector is not only about encouraging major corporations to come on board. It can start with small and medium enterprises with climate at the center of their endeavors.

Originally posted by the Climate Investment Funds. To read the original article, please click here.