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Green innovations for socio-economic development

Water scarcity and availability poses major risk to socio-economic development and the environment. To the private sector, water scarcity translates directly into a reputational, regulatory, and financial risk, with major implications on their operations and supply chains. As a result, many companies have started to adopted innovations to manage their water risks. However, there is little understanding on the efficacy of such interventions, and whether the benefits of better water management extend beyond the specific business operations. This project is exploring the nature of green innovations that have been taken up by the private sector, and the extend to which they benefit the broader landscape as a whole.

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Mapping the financial and institutional landscape for a green economy

Many developing countries have made significant commitments towards the transition to a green economy, with significant resources allocated to that effect. Recently the South African government, through the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) established the Green Fund (GF), as a catalytic fund to support green economy projects and initiatives in South Africa. We are currently assisting the bank to develop a comprehensive understanding of the green economy financial and institutional landscape in South Africa, to enable the fund streamline its operations and leverage existing resources.

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 Low carbon development strategies for Zambia

We recently completed an assessment of the agricultural futures of the country as part of the USAID’s initiative on Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS), in partnership with International Food Policy Research Institute (www.ifpri.org) and Development Data, a local organisation. The project focused on assessing the cost of accessing markets by farmers of major agricultural produce including maize, soybeans, wheat etc.

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 Green business incubation and capacity building

Africege is currently piloting a green business incubation programme with the goal of activating grassroots green economy enterprises. The first phase of this project was implemented in 2013 and 2014, with support from the DOEN Foundation and the New Economics Foundation. Financial support is currently being sought for phase 2, which will involve active enterprise development support to 10 new economy enterprises as a pilot. The initiative is focused on supporting green enterprises that ascribe to new economy principles, which include innovative ownership arrangements, new forms of distribution and a focus on grassroots.

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Africa Interact: Enabling research-to-policy dialogue for adaptation to climate change in Africa

There is evidence that Southern Africa is experiencing significant impacts on human health from incidences of drought and flooding. With support from CORAF/WECARD, this project undertook a comprehensive review of climate change adaptation research and policy in relation to human health in Southern Africa, with a goal of facilitating the communication and transfer of information between researchers and policymakers in the region. The assessment established that major knowledge gaps still exist in our understanding of the links between climate change and human health in the region, and its impact on agricultural productivity specifically.

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Sustainable energy solutions for low cost housing

As part of our innovation hub, we are piloting a scheme that promotes sustainable energy solutions for low cost housing schemes in South Africa. We have established a workshop that trains local community members to manufacture and install tubular skylight units. Our goal is to install 1000 skylight units per annum, in low cost housing in South Africa to enable impoverished households to enjoy the benefits of natural lighting. We are currently seeking private sector support to sponsor the skylight units to enable us reach more households in South Africa. In future this programme will expand to other sustainable energy solutions that complement the day lighting solution that we offer.

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