Green entrepreneurs driving just transition in Africa

Light bulb with green plant sprout inside. Picture: Supplied

Light bulb with green plant sprout inside. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 26, 2023


The Green Innovation Hub (GiH) has unveiled the budding enterprises to be incubated in its first cohort for 2023. The GiH is an initiative of the Cape Town-based African Centre for a Green Economy (AfriCGE), a knowledge hub and capacity-building organisation dedicated to supporting Africa’s transition to a green economy.

Since 2014, AfriCGE has been supporting South Africa’s small and medium enterprises as active players in the green economy.

The transition to a low-carbon economy is gaining traction across Africa, due to the impact of climate change and the pervasive youth unemployment.

In South Africa, the electricity crisis has made searching for sustainable solutions more urgent. The green economy provides enormous opportunities for unlocking some of the systemic challenges, with sectors such as waste management, renewable energy and water, critical for driving the transition.

The GiH seeks to close the gap in the innovation ecosystem by enabling green entrepreneurs to scale their businesses and secure access to climate finance. The GiH is also unique from other incubation programmes in South Africa because it deliberately seeks to connect South African entrepreneurs to the rest of the continent, to expand their market reach.

Dr Mao Amis, convenor of the GiH, believes that “it is important to support green entrepreneurs because the transition is not only necessary but inevitable. The increased incidences of extreme events such as the current flooding in Western Cape, demonstrate that the impact of climate change is already being felt, and such extreme events will become more intense and frequent.”

“Green entrepreneurs play a critical role in identifying solutions which help to address the impact of climate change. But more importantly, the transition to a green economy presents enormous opportunities, which need to be tapped into, to address some of the systemic challenges of unemployment and poverty which South Africa faces," Amis said.

To foster collaboration, the GiH selected 14 enterprises from 4 African countries to join the programme, with seven of the enterprises emanating from South Africa. A comprehensive list of these enterprises can be viewed here.