World Bank opens funding centre for local farm solutions
By Farmbiz | Thu 04 Oct, 2012

The World Bank has launched a one-of-its-kind initiative in Nairobi that will assist local companies deploy locally developed climate friendly solutions creating over 4,600 direct and over 24,000 indirect jobs over the next decade, while also leveraging some $10 million in private sector investment. The move comes as reports emerge that over 85 per cent of Kenyan farmers are now being effected in their planting and harvesting by changing weather patterns.

Dubbed the Climate Innovation Centre (CIC), the facility will offer financing and other services to a growing network of climate innovators and entrepreneurs and is expected to support up to 70 sustainable climate technology ventures in the first five years. The successful implementation of the centre will pave way for the establishment of six other similar centres to be set up in the near future, according to Johannes Zutt World Bank's country director to Kenya.

Keneth Ndua, founder of start-up Fawandu, is an entrepreneur who is developing a domestically produced, high-efficiency stove that simultaneously cooks and sanitizes water through boiling. “I want to provide clean water and cooking to 24,000 households, and create 550 jobs, 400 of which will be for women. The support of the CIC would help me with the commercialization and rollout of our products at the national level,” he says.

The Kenya CIC was developed in close consultation with Kenyan partners to ensure local relevance and long-term sustainability. It is hosted by the Strathmore Business School, in collaboration with Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) International, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI).

The facility couldnt have come at an opportune moment as scientists argue that although climate change is a global challenge, ots effects are felt most strongly in Africa who rely hugely on agriculture for survival.   The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) estimates that temperature increases will be, on average, 50% greater in Africa. Scientists predict that a rise of 4°C would cause temperatures to increase by up to 7°C in  Southern and East Africa, a climactic change that would systemically threaten livelihoods in the region.

“Africa suffers from the spectrum of climate change disadvantages. Droughts and desertification are increasingly triggering conflict, particularly in East Africa. Extreme weather events claim lives in the coastal regions, and unpredictable rainfall threatens food security across all of sub-Saharan Africa. I am therefore confident that the CIC will play a key role in mitigating this and will become the focal point for innovative commercial development of profitable climate-related business in Kenya and potentially East Africa,” said British High Commissioner to Kenya Dr Christian Turner during the launch.

The CIC is supported by the World Bank’s infoDev in partnership with the government of Denmark and Britain’s UKAid.  InfoDev’s vision is to build a global network of 30 Climate Innovation Centers that will create over 2,400 enterprises, generate 240,000 direct and indirect jobs, install 3000 MW of off-grid energy capacity, provide energy access to over 28 million people, deliver clean water to over 10 million households and mitigate 65 million tons of carbon dioxide.

The facility now bolsters Kenya's efforts to mitigate the vagaries of weather that have now taken their toll on farmers and the entire economy with changing planting and harvesting periods now disrupting food supply across the nation.

The University of Nairobi recently established a climate change department that has crafted a whole syllabus on how regional farmers can best insulate themselves from the vagaries of weather.

The course, which is the first of its kind in Eastern Africa, will focus on governance, case studies and co-benefits of mitigation.

The latest science estimates the average production losses by 2050 for African maize at 22 per cent, sorghum 17 per cent, millet 17 per cent, groundnut 18 per cent and cassava 8 per cent as a result of rise in temperatures.

Written by Bob Koigi for African Laughter

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