CAIRO - 11 September 2022: The second edition of Egypt’s International Cooperation Forum (Egypt-ICF2022) shed light on the power of innovation in influencing the climate agenda and shifting productive patterns to complement and enhance mitigation efforts.
This came during a workshop entitled, “ Innovation for Climate Action”, where the participants asserted the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation for boosting climate action and stimulating the usage of modern technologies to combat climate change.
They also highlighted the importance of these technologies in reducing the cost of confronting climate change, affirming the importance of national efforts in promoting innovation as well as providing finances for research related to climate action.
Furthermore, they addressed the role of business incubators and accelerators in supporting entrepreneurs and raising their awareness of climate risks and how to combat them using modern technology and innovative ideas.
Head of Innovation & Consultant to the Country Director at World Food Programme (WFP), Oday Kamal, clarified that this workshop is to explore all the different dimensions that can contribute to tackling climate change and climate action, using innovation, adding that entrepreneurship is an ecosystem using investments.
Kamal quoted John Kerry's statement in the opening session saying that investment in the field of climate change during 2021 has reached US$41 billion, which is a huge amount, with Europe, China and the United States accounting for 95% of this amount, while startups in Africa received a small percentage of this number.
Founder & CEO at Taqatak Renewable Energy Solutions, Mostafa Ashraf, elaborated the origin of the idea behind Taqatak Renewable Energy Solutions which was established in 2017, saying that it works to provide portable and easy-to-use electric charging units based on solar energy that can be used at anytime and anywhere and does not result in any carbon emissions.
“We are mobile charging units that are installed on billboards equipped with solar panels so that solar energy is converted into electricity that people use in charging mobile phones as well as in lighting the billboard,” Ashraf added, noting that the idea was appreciated by the President of the Republic in 2017, as one of the most promising start-ups, and then they obtained support and funding from a commercial bank to establish our company.
For her part, Ines Rocha, Managing Director, Impact & Partnerships, EBRD, stated that the European Bank of Reconstruction as an investor has a multi-million dollar plan to support small businesses and it offers specific programs for start-ups and help them identify next steps and mobilise funding to help them get started. “We are studying all ways to provide financing,” she stated.
According to Rocha, the bank has a public program to support startups in the areas of climate, and it is also stimulating the attraction of the private sector to this field.
Answering what are USAID's activities in Egypt in the field of innovation in climate action, Kathleen said that the USAID launched a program to support engineering startups.
“We are working with the government to develop 10 international biotechnology schools that include climate education in their curricula, and we are working in cooperation with the private sector to develop technology teaching and provide job opportunities,” Kathleen Kirsch, Engineering Officer & Climate Lead (USAID).
She announced that a few days ago, Abdel Rahman Ashraf's performance won the competition that the USAID is holding in partnership with the Egyptian government under the title ClimateTech Run Competition to encourage Egyptian and African entrepreneurs in the field of green innovation. The deadline for submission of proposals is September 22.
“One of the most important aspects that we work on as a development institution is the field of water and awareness in formulating environmental policies in partnership with the Egyptian government and the private sector,” She noted.
As for Kelvin Massingham, Representative of Climate Innovation for Adaptation and Resilience (CIFAR) Alliance, he stated that Africa suffers from a lack of funding flow, and we at the Climate Innovation Alliance publish scientific letters and research to inform funders of the situation in Africa and funding needs.
“We also have initiatives to accelerate funding through support funds. We have many success stories in this regard such as Forms for You in Nigeria for two elderly ladies, and in Egypt we have Paranouda to use agricultural waste and turn it into compost for land reclamation. We need more advances in climate technology comprehensively,” Kelvin added.
Moreover, Daniel Annerose, Markets, Digital Finance Services in Africa CEO stated that his company’s strategy is to make investment in the agricultural field attractive to financiers and provide solutions to reduce the impact of climate change and contribute to creating sustainable models.
According to the World Economic Outlook report 2019 published by the IMF, the increase in investments in research and development in renewables led to a reduction in the cost of producing solar and wind energies by 67% and 34%, respectively, between 2009 and 2017, making it available to all countries.
As a part of the preparations for the COP27, the Ministries of International Cooperation, Environment, Information and Communication Technology launched in August the “ClimaTech Run 2022” international competition, which targets tech-based startups that work in the field of climate across Africa and around the world.
It is also dedicated to digital art professionals, with an aim of stimulating and encouraging innovative and sustainable digital solutions to reinforce climate action, as well as addressing the socio-economic repercussions resulting from climate change.
The second edition of the Egypt-ICF Forum was held 60 days ahead of COP27 under the theme “Moving from Pledges to Implementation”.