For Small Businesses in Africa, Climate Resilience Is an Economic Opportunity

Africa is home to a growing number of entrepreneurs who see business opportunities in sustainable agriculture and forestry. This is an opportune time to invest in nature-based ventures, partly because African governments have committed to begin restoring 100 million hectares (247 million acres) of degraded land by 2030 as part of the AFR100 initiative. Restoring land with certain trees, crops and grasses can help improve land productivity, as well as ecosystem services like water management and carbon sequestration.

However, this is also a time of increasing climate risks. Late last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a special report describing the various intensifying impacts of global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) and 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F). Regardless of whether and how much greenhouse gas emissions are eventually reduced, small and medium businesses in Africa are already feeling these impacts. They are trying to grow their companies while grappling with climate risks like rising temperatures and more frequent, intense droughts and floods.

Last month in Nairobi, WRI and Fledge, a global network of company accelerators and investment funds, held the Land Accelerator, the world's first startup accelerator focusing on scaling businesses involved in land restoration. After leading a session on climate risks that businesses in Africa face, I sat down with two of the participating companies to better understand how they are adapting to a changing climate.

Date published: 
February 2019
Moushumi Chaudhury