Small Market Enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya and Tanzania are set to benefit from the recently started programme by Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) and Climate Technology Center and Network (CTCN) that seeks to identify and support mechanisms that will enable industrial SMEs adopt environmentally sound technologies.
Acting as the operational arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s technology mechanism, CTCN received from the UNFCCC the mandate to promote the accelerated transfer of environmentally sound technologies for low carbon and climate resilient development to developing countries. CTCN aims to implement private sector innovation programmes which will focus on identification of challenges and specific solutions for the SMEs in order to support them with uptake of climate-smart technologies.
CTCN will therefore be working closely with SMEs in the region in partnership with KCIC which offers incubation, capacity building and financing options to SMEs that are developing innovations to address climate change related challenges. The overall goal of the new programme is to strengthen developing countries’ industrial SME markets in order to move from conventional technologies to more efficient climate technologies.
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The programme kicked off at the beginning of this year with KCIC carrying out a research and analysis of SMEs profiles in East Africa named “Industrial SMEs Cluster Mapping”. From the research, KCIC and partners are endeavoring to cluster SMEs according to their industrial activities as well as the common hurdles they face while trying to scale up.
KCIC has also engaged stakeholders in Kenya and Tanzania with an aim of validating the preliminary report findings contained in the Industrial SMEs Cluster Mapping Report for both countries. The validation workshops drew stakeholders from government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and capacity building institutions and was fruitful in giving insight to the areas in. Some of the issues discussed were in view of the challenges around adoption of environmentally sound technologies by industrial SMEs, the most common challenges and the establishment of an environmental management culture within organizations entailing: renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste recycling, waste water recycling and use of environmentally sound materials for production.
Speaking during the validation exercise in Tanzania, the programme lead from KCIC Christine Mwangi revealed some of the preliminary findings of the report highlighting technologies which were seen to have the most potential in addressing climate change. “We have identified some of these technologies that include increasing efficiency in production processes, minimizing the use of natural resources, promoting energy conservation and efficiency, use of renewable energy sources and reducing toxic waste emissions and pollutants,” Christine said.
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According to the findings, industrial sub-sectors that showed significant environmental and technological challenges based on the technological themes assessed are building, mining and construction, paper and board, textile and apparel, timber, wood and furniture and energy and electricals and automotive.
SMEs make up a good chunk of the East African economy. When most companies are created, they directly add on to the national revenue and also create job opportunities. Most companies however go through a lot turbulence after being set-up, and this is not just in the collecting profit stage but also in learning the operationalization of the sectors that they are in. This is the gap that the programme seeks sort to fill by bringing together different climate technology players as well as partners who will support the SMES implement the recommendations of the programme.
By Kevin Oscar and Solomon Irungu N