World Bank picks Kenya to host first green tech centre


The front view of the Management Science building at Strathmore University. Strathmore will host a Sh1.3 billion ($15 million) hub which will act as an incubation centre where entrepreneurs with green projects will be nurtured to scale up their ideas into viable businesses.

Kenya has been selected to host the first of seven climate innovation centres.

The centres will be set up around the world to boost environment friendly innovations and technologies necessary to mitigate effects of climate change.

The Sh1.3 billion ($15 million) hub based at Strathmore University in Nairobi will act as an incubation centre where entrepreneurs with green projects will be nurtured to scale up their ideas into viable businesses.

The World Bank selected Kenya as the home of the pioneer climate innovation hub since Nairobi already hosts multiple research laboratories for global firms such as tech giants IBM and Nokia besides being the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep).

(Read: IBM lab registers Kenya for tough investment challenge)

The centre plans to fund at least 13 climate technology enterprises in the next one year, providing each with seed capital of Sh6.4 million ($75,000) to fund the growth of green start-ups.

“It will provide financing and other services to develop innovative technologies and business models that address local climate challenges,” World Bank Climate Innovation Centre director Mary Njoroge told the Business Daily. “This facility will support researchers, entrepreneurs and private sector SMEs to participate proactively and profitably in the rapidly expanding clean-tech sector.”

She added that the centre targets to develop 70 green enterprises in the next four years.

The setting up of the centre is likely to shore up Kenya’s position as a leader in championing climate change issues, cement its status as an innovation hub and open up opportunities to tap into the multimillion dollar carbon-trading industry.

The centre is expected to spur growth of environment friendly enterprises such as bio-fuel generation, water purification, and harvesting, organic fertiliser and use of biological pest and disease control as an alternative to agrochemicals.

The hub will mentor and finance entrepreneurs with business ideas that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment. It will focus on innovations in renewable energy, agribusiness, water and sanitation to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The project is jointly funded by infoDev, a grant programme managed by the World Bank, UKAid, and Danish International Development Agency. It is also supported by Global Village Energy Partnership International, auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute.

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