New support centre backs Kenyan cleantech

Sensemaking / New support centre backs Kenyan cleantech

This initiative, funded by the World Bank, is the start of a programme to build a global network of Climate Innovation Centres.

30 Mar 2012

This initiative, funded by the World Bank, is the start of a programme to build a global network of Climate Innovation Centres.

The Kenyan capital is set to play host to the first of a global network of Climate Innovation Centres (CICs). These will provide targeted financing, as well as technical and marketing assistance, to help entrepreneurs scale up innovative cleantech solutions to meet local needs and create jobs.

The initiative springs from the World Bank’s InfoDev programme, and should eventually amount to a 30-strong network of CICs, mostly in developing countries at the frontline of climate change. The Bank’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Andrew Steer, said the centres would “harness the creative spark of entrepreneurs to transform climate challenges into market opportunities”.

The Nairobi centre has a goal of creating 70 businesses and 4,600 jobs over the first five years of its operation.

Kenya already faces growing challenges of drought and energy scarcity, and these are expected to be exacerbated by global warming. Over 60% of the country’s electricity comes from hydro power, which has resulted in frequent shortages and blackouts when water levels are insufficient to drive the turbines. But on the plus side, it is well placed to harvest both solar and wind energy, and small-scale biogas and biomass schemes are also playing a growing role in meeting rural people’s needs. – Gitonga Njeru

Photo: Martin Wright

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