- The private sector was noted to have the potential in revitalising the drive towards climate funding.
- Estimates show that about three quarter of climate investment needs must come from the private sector to complement public sector financing.
Small scale players such as local communities and SMEs have great potential as driving forces towards climate resilience, experts have said.
However, they lack the capacity to implement the various actions and policy decisions often thrown at them with the expectation that they will adopt and comply.
These are part of the concerns raised during the inaugural Africa Climate Business Forum held in Nairobi, as a follow-up to the Africa Climate Summit held in September.
According to Kenya Bankers Association CEO Habil Olaka, in Kenya specifically, the small players have very low penetration power into the climate action space, a factor that needs reconsideration.
"Majority of them are also constrained with limited initial capital required to off take green development projects," Olaka said.
He also urged financial institutions to re-purpose green funding from being a debt fund, as this is a major factor pushing off the small players from financial access.
"An SME for instance, will not be able to qualify or request for a debt fund which currently is being offered at high interest rates. Further, the private sector should be incorporated in programmes such as the green bond to scale it up targeting the existing funding in the market."
East Africa IFC regional director Mary Porter reiterated that private sector could play a vital role in the drive towards climate funding.
"At large, Africa needs about $190 billion (Sh28.7 trillion) a year between now and 2030 for climate mitigation and another $50 billion (Sh7.5 trillion) annually until 2050 for adaptation," Porter said.
"Estimates show that about three quarter of climate investment needs must come from the private sector to complement public sector financing."
Centum CEO James Mworia emphasised the need for the country to prioritise green energy investment, terming the venture a great potential for spiral effects into other sectors.
"Strategic green energy investments specifically in real estate development could offer competitive advantages in the market, cut down on energy production costs and act as a risk management tool in the entire development ecosystem," Mworia said.
The forum which runs for two days, further aims to provide concrete and innovative solutions to unlock the billions of dollars Africa needs for an inclusive transition.
It mainly focuses decarbonising growth, carbon markets, green cities, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable finance and capital markets.
The Forum brought together more than 300 government and business leaders to discuss how to meet Africa's climate finance gap.
Other participants in the forum highlighted opportunities the new climate economy represents for Africa’s industrial growth and job market, exceedingly important on a continent where the population is expected to double by 2050 to be 2.5 billion people.
"Yet, with 43 per cent of the content still living without access to electricity, innovative solutions that combine advancements in sustainable technologies and massive investment in adaptation are key," says Porter.