On the 14th of March 2019, world leaders gathered in Nairobi for the third installment of the One Planet Summit. Some of the high-profile guests in attendance included President Macron of France, President Kenyatta of Kenya, President Georgieva of the World Bank, and Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. Also in attendance were entrepreneurs, donors, international organizations and other stakeholders all convened at the United Nations to accelerate climate action in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) CEO, Edward Mungai, along with two KCIC clients were invited to speak at the event.
The morning session consisted of a high-profile meeting co-chaired by Presidents Macron and Kenyatta and attended by other heads of state and representatives of the finance and business sectors, local governments, civil society, and youth. The focus was on promoting financing and furthered development of initiatives around renewable energy, biodiversity, and resilience and adaptation to climate change
KCIC CEO, Lejan Energy, and Kitui Industries “pitch” at One Planet Summit
The Summit offered a platform to KCIC clients to showcase their innovations during a pitching session, held in the afternoon, designed to recognise innovative and impactful climate entrepreneurs. KCIC clients Taher Zavery of Kitui Industries and Jane Ngugi of Lejan Energy gave pitches about their respective enterprises. Furthermore, development banks and other One Planet Summit coalitions presented during the session to invite new partners to join their initiatives.
I was able to speak to Zavery of Kitui Industries about his experience at the summit. His company is in the cotton value chain and works to be sustainable and mitigate waste as much as possible. They process cotton, which results in 2 products- cotton fiber and cotton seed. The fiber is sold to textile mills, and the seed is crushed to extract the oil. The oil is converted to biofuel, and the residue is converted to animal feed. In addition to running their own factory with the resulting biofuel, they also sell the biofuel to such customers as the United Nations itself.
Networking opportunities for entrepreneurs at One Planet Summit
Zavery says that the One Planet Summit was a great networking opportunity. “It was a really good way to meet people in the industry as well as influential policy makers. We were able to share with them what we are doing and raise awareness about the climate change issues we confront,” Zavery says.
Zavery was also able to attend a related cocktail event that had happened the day before at the French embassy. He again comments that it was a good networking opportunity; he was able to meet the French Minister for Environment as well as representatives from aid agencies.
The One Planet Summit concluded with breakout sessions chaired by ministers and high-level officials. Some of the panels included alignment of development banks with the Paris Agreement and long term sustainable financing in Africa, innovative financing to enhance solar energy in Africa, and climate investment opportunities in cities.
Overall, the summit was a great opportunity for KCIC and some of its entrepreneurs to showcase the innovative work they do in fighting climate change. It was also a chance for them to partake in high-level networking as well as marketing of their enterprises.