Engaging for climate resilience: GIF attends Africa Climate Summit 2023.

Sep 22, 2023

The inaugural Africa Climate Summit 2023 (ACS23) – one of four key region-focused climate conferences – took place earlier this month in Nairobi, Kenya. The event provided a crucial platform for innovators to showcase their solutions to pressing climate issues, as well as a chance for funders like GIF to build connections with innovators, like-minded research institutes, NGOs and CSOs.

GIF’s delegation, combining experts from both our Grants and Risk Capital teams, used the summit as an opportunity to learn, expand our networks, and to source transformative innovations for our Innovating for Climate Resilience Fund. Through this sub-fund, launched at COP26 in 2021 with the support of FCDO and Sida, we invest in innovations that aim to support people living on less than $5 per day to build resilience to the inevitable changes in climate.

On a mission to engage with potential investees, investment director, Lily Steele, was a panellist at the “Africa Union iHub”, a session which marked the first attempt by the African Union to operationalise the Summit to bring African innovators to the forefront. The three-day long event saw 70 local innovators bring their solutions to pressing climate challenges to the table - and resulted in GIF having access to this promising list of projects.

Investment Associate Shreya Das, was an Investor Panellist in the “Eco-Sustainability Deal Room”, organised by Novastar Ventures and Africa Finance Corporation, where innovators had the opportunity to pitch their ideas directly to investors. This helped GIF make numerous exciting connections, and have access to the ongoing Virtual Deal Room, which will further help us source African projects and organisations.

As well as working towards sourcing up-and-coming innovations, our team highlighted the achievements of existing investees. This included organising a stall for Mr Green Africa, a tech-enabled plastics recycling company working to shift the informal and exploitative plastic recycling sector in Kenya. Since GIF’s investment in 2019, Mr Green Africa has saved millions of kgs in CO2 emissions each year, and empowered thousands of waste pickers to achieve more secure employment.

In addition to the main Summit, the GIF team attended many useful side events. These included the AfricaArena Nairobi Summit, a tech conference showcasing Africa’s best start-ups, and the 6th Annual Green Climate Fund’s Private Investment for Climate Conference. We spoke on several other panels – including the “Metrics that Matter: measuring impact on climate resilience and adaptation” session at the Africa Climate Tech Festival, organised by AfricaArena and the Catalyst Fund, where Lily Steele shared how we measure impact at GIF.

The GIF team will now use the momentum from ACS23 to follow up on conversations and exchange learnings with more than 60 innovators, apex funders, and NGOs, and to work towards building a robust sourcing pipeline for climate innovations. In doing so, we aim to strengthen GIF’s central mission: to find and fund high-impact social innovations with the potential to transform the lives of the world’s poorest people.