African entrepreneurs lead the way in climate change adaptation

Author:Maëli Astruc
Position:Global Challenges Division, WIPO

Developing and deploying green technologies to mitigate and adapt to the worst effects of climate change are crucially important dimensions of efforts to build resilient and sustainable societies. They are particularly important in Africa, one of the continents that will be most adversely affected by climate change.


The good news is that many initiatives are being developed across the continent to meet the formidable challenges that lie ahead. Businesses are leading the way in tackling local challenges across Africa. This is evident from an exhibition showcasing Africa-focused green technologies that was held on the sidelines of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP22) in Marrakesh in November 2016.

The exhibition was co-organized by WIPO’s green technology platform, WIPO GREEN (see box), the French National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) and the Moroccan Industrial and Commercial Property Office (OMPIC). It featured the innovations of 44 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are based in Africa or focused on the African market.

“Participation in the exhibition has given these companies international exposure. This networking opportunity contributes to their technology promotion efforts and speeds up the deployment in areas where solutions are most needed,” notes Anatole Krattiger, who oversees the WIPO GREEN platform at WIPO.

“This exhibition gave me the opportunity to show Africans that we have the capacity to find solutions to the problems we are facing. All we need is to connect with each other and give ourselves the confidence that we can succeed,” says Isidore Nzeyimana, CEO of Tekatangije in Rwanda, one of the exhibitors.

Against the backdrop of the recent entry into force of the landmark Paris Agreement (see box), and alongside important policy discussions at COP22 to further galvanize the global response to the threat of climate change, the exhibition demonstrated in very practical terms what businesses are doing on the ground to drive innovation to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

More than 180 companies applied to take part in the exhibition, with 80 percent of them coming from 22 African countries, reflecting the dynamism of African SMEs in developing technologies for clean energy, agriculture and water. These have been identified as priority areas by the UNFCCC.

The following two cases offer an example of the types of technologies that are under development in Africa to tackle local environmental challenges. The first relates to the development of a bio-latrine in Uganda and the second to a mobile phone-enabled tele-irrigation system from Niger.

About WIPO Green – The Marketplace for Sustainable Technology

WIPO GREEN is an interactive marketplace that promotes the innovation and diffusion of green technologies. It does this by connecting technology and service providers with those seeking innovative solutions.

About the Paris Climate Change Agreement

The landmark Paris Climate Change...

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