Climate change negatively impacts African economies and agribusiness MSMEs along agri-based value1chains - led by men and women. Nonetheless, they do not hold the key responsibility for this threat. Sub-Saharan Africa for instance accounts for less than 4% of global emissions and receives 5% of total climate finance outside the OECD. Innovation and investments can change this apparently paradoxical correlation and make African agribusiness climate-resilient and climate-smart with African MSMEs in agri-based value chains at the centre. It is thus crucial that COP27 will be held in Africa.
Knowing as much as possible about climate change, climate finance, as well as adapting life and business to climate change to generate prosperity are critical endeavours of African agribusiness men and women. We feel this is more than strong enough to trigger an international conference on the 3 hot priority topics below.
Climate-smart agribusiness in Africa needs thinking and learning out of the boxes of (Agri)business and (Agro)Ecology for common understanding and conducive action. The first part of the conference will set the frame, share information on viable climate-smart technologies, business models, policies that led to more and better food and raw materials, jobs, incomes while reducing, avoiding, or capturing Green House Gases (GHG). What is it that can be learnt from such experience in Africa and from other regions, i.e. Asia, Pacific and Caribbean? Following a human-centred and MSME-centred approach, further questions will focus on who has benefited from climate finance and climate-smart products in which scope, scale and time frame.
Understanding and applying emission and agroecology metrics in agribusiness appears to be a crucial first step towards inclusive climate finance for mitigation and for adaptation. Assessing products of African agribusiness MSME1 e. g. by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) would help to include emitted / avoided / captured emissions as a sort-of second currency at the cost and the revenue side. Relevant data will be needed to forecast and assess in an accountable manner their performance in adaptation to respectively mitigation of climate change. Beyond such review of economic models, inclusive climate finance must build on formal business entities and institutional models that ensure accountability and effective participation of MSME1 in climate finance through their professional organizations. Could inclusive climate finance therefore also prepare the ground for the long-sought fiscality of African agribusiness?
For climate-smart products including also renewable energy and environmental services of agribusiness MSME1, new technical and financial services, new processes and applications, and related capacities, will need to be developed. Building on standards cutting across enterprises, value chains, countries, and regions within AfCFTA will ensure transparency, competitiveness, and scale. What are the new income & job opportunities beyond agribusiness 1 are linked to inclusive climate finance? To make climate-smart agribusiness bankable, capacity development for millions of African MSME including their organizations will be required. How would the “ladder of skills” across different actors from MSME to bankers to policy makers look like? How do we ensure that policies supporting the processes are effectively financed and implemented? Who are the African champions who can drive such change? What roles should youth/professional organizations play? Different exchange and learning formats of the conference will contribute to answer these questions and develop TrAction for climate-smart agribusiness and cooperation across the continent and beyond.