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The Kenya Climate Innovation Investment Summit 2023, organized by the Kenya Climate Innovation Center, took place from the 4th to the 6th of October 2023 at the iconic Edge Conventional Center located at the College of Insurance in South C, Nairobi. Themed “Unlocking Climate Financing Opportunities for MSME Growth, “the summit aimed to catalyze green innovation and connect green entrepreneurs with potential investors in Kenya and East Africa.

The summit served as a dynamic platform connecting green entrepreneurs with potential investors, showcasing groundbreaking climate solutions, and highlighting lucrative green investment opportunities in Kenya and East Africa as a whole.

Day One Highlights

During the first day of the summit, a pivotal panel discussion titled “Enhancing the Role of MSMEs in Addressing Climate Change” took center stage. Ms. Evelyn Chemutai, the Assistant Director of Enterprise Development, adeptly represented Mr. Henry Rithaa, the CEO/DG of the Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA), as a key panelist.

The discussion delved deeply into the array of government initiatives aimed at preparing MSMEs to seize green financing opportunities. The government’s proactive involvement extends to comprehensive capacity-building programs tailored specifically for MSMEs. This strategic approach places a strong emphasis on empowering youth, women, and individuals with disabilities engaged in green enterprises. The government is also fostering collaboration among public, private, and development partners to support MSMEs in understanding green financing and climate change concepts.

Ms. Evelyn Chemutai, MSEA Assistant Director of Enterprise Development speaking during the KCIC Investment Summit 2023.

Day Two Highlights:

The Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Cooperatives and MSMEs Development, Hon. Simon Chelugui, graced the Kenya Climate Innovation Summit on the second day, along with the European Commissioner for International Relationships in the European Commission, Ms. Jutta Paulina Urpilainen, and other delegates. In his speech, CS Chelugui highlighted the importance of the Summit in connecting enterprises and addressing climate change challenges, such as drought and water scarcity. He emphasized the government’s commitment to green financing and mitigation efforts, including tree planting during the El Niño period.

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Cooperatives and MSME Development Hon. Simon Chelugui giving his remarks during the KCIC Investment Summit 2023.

The Cabinet Secretary underscored that the Ministry of Cooperatives and MSMEs is actively prioritizing the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda as part of its commitment to reducing informality. Expressing eagerness to collaborate with stakeholders in the Climate Change sector, the ministry is adopting a multifaceted approach. This includes implementing policy interventions, facilitating access to funds through platforms like the Hustler Fund, creating a conducive business environment, and providing capacity-building initiatives for MSMEs.

Furthermore, the government is diligently streamlining the licensing process for small businesses to promote efficiency and ease of operation. In his closing remarks, CS Chelugui reaffirmed the government’s unwavering vision for MSMEs and emphasized ongoing efforts to identify key players in this sector.

European Commissioner’s Address

Jutta Paulina Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Relationships, highlighted the Summit’s role in Kenya’s green growth. She stressed the importance of catalyzing climate solutions and youth employment opportunities in Kenya. Ms. Jutta encouraged Kenyans to prioritize making Kenya greener.

European Commissioner for International Relationships Jutta Paulina Urpilainene giving her remarks during the KCIC Investment Summit 2023.

Private Sector Opportunities in Kakamega County

During the Summit, various public and private sector entities made presentations in line with the theme, “Unlocking Climate Financing Opportunities for MSME Growth.” The Kakamega County Investment and Development Agency (KCIDA) showcased Private Sector Opportunities in Kakamega County. They highlighted notable facts about the county, such as hosting the only tropical rainforest in Kenya.

KCIDA also discussed Value Addition Investment Opportunities in Kakamega, including:

  1. Maize Farming and Value Addition: Maize Milling plant, biofuel production from maize cobs, production of breakfast cereals like cornflakes and sweeteners, corn oil production, and blending ingredients for animal feeds.
  2. Sunflower Farming and Value Addition: Production of Sunflower edible oil, animal feed production, and manufacturing of Gluten Flour.
  3. Banana Farming and Value Addition: Banana processing plant for Banana flour, Sanitary Towels, Crisps, Banana Jam, and Pastries.
  4. Avocado Farming and Value Addition: Avocado processing plant for edible oil refining, production of Briquettes from Avocado peels, Cosmetic and pharmaceutical processing from Avocado seeds.
  5. Dairy Value Chain: Animal feed processing plant, installation of Milk processing equipment like coolers and Pasteurizers, Dairy products packaging, and distribution (Yoghurt, cheese, UHT, Ice-cream).
  6. Fish Value Chain: Fish feed processing center, Fish collection center, Fingerlings hatchery, construction of fish cages, Fish processing, and export.

KCIDA invited partnerships with MSMEs, NGOs, and other sector players to industrialize and transform Kakamega County.

Day Three Highlights:

Carbon Credits and Sustainability: The Kenya Climate Innovation Summit 2023 concluded on a high note by focusing on the crucial topic of Carbon Credits. The panel discussed the potential of the circular economy for businesses, industries, and communities.

Demystifying the Carbon Credits Space:

One of the key areas explored during the summit was “Demystifying the Carbon Credits Space.” Carbon Credits are market-based mechanisms designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing economic incentives for entities to reduce their carbon footprint. Companies earn Carbon Credits by reducing emissions or investing in projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere. These credits can be traded or sold to other companies to offset their emissions.

Carbon Credits play a crucial role in incentivizing sustainability and combating climate change. Together, through innovation, entrepreneurship, and climate action, we can shape a greener Kenya and a better world.

The Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC), a pivotal player in the climate sector, focuses on incubating, accelerating, and providing innovative financing for entrepreneurs tackling climate change.

In the words of President H.E. Dr. William Samoei Ruto, “Although climate change is a universal existential threat, there is good reason for Africa’s institutions and leadership to drive the agenda of mitigating its effects.”

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