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Driving Positive Change: The Motivations, Perspectives, and Impact of Investing in Climate-Smart Enterprises

  • By Lucy Ndumi
  • October 6, 2023

In a world facing the pressing challenges of climate change, sustainable development, and environmental conservation, organizations like DANIDA play a pivotal role in driving positive change. A discussion with Charles Wasike delved into DANIDA’s motivations, perspectives, and impacts regarding their investments in climate-smart enterprises. Charles currently works for Royal Danish Embassy Nairobi as a Programme Officer. He has over 18 years of work experience in Project and Fund Management. His experience entails working at local, national and supra-national program set-ups. The countries of experience besides Kenya are Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Southern Sudan and Liberia. His major areas of focus have been Development (with bias in agribusiness and climate). Charles holds a Masters’ Degree in International Studies University of Nairobi, two undergraduate degrees (BSc. Statistics – Moi University and BA in Philosophy – Urbaniana Pontifical University, Rome) and a Diploma in Religious Studies. Charles is the Danida representative to KCV Board.

Here are the key insights from our conversation:

Can you tell us about DANIDA’s overarching mission and objectives when it comes to investing in climate-smart enterprises?

Danish Climate Act aims for a 70% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2050. This sets the pace for all Danish interventions on climate related interventions. Danida, in that regard, is among the leading development players investing in climate-smart enterprises.

What motivated DANIDA to partner with KCV specifically in supporting climate-smart enterprises?

Climate change being a relatively new phenomenon, a lot of innovations are needed to combat it. Unfortunately, most of the financing instruments and products do not appreciate this fact and therefore term such innovations as risky. There therefore needs to be in place patient and flexible instruments and products such as the ones being promoted by KCV.

Could you share some examples of successful climate-smart enterprise investments that DANIDA has been involved in through KCV?

Danida, through KCV, provided initial financial support to Sistema Bio, now the leading company in the dissemination of biodigester solutions in Kenya.

From your perspective, what is the significance of impact investing in today’s business landscape, particularly concerning climate-smart solutions?

The risk involved and patience needed for investing in climate-smart solution needs an impact mindset. Not all returns in climate change can be easily monetized, thus calling for impact investment.

Could you discuss any challenges or lessons learned from DANIDA’s experience in impact investing in the climate-smart sector?

There is immense opportunity investing in climate-smart sector. All that is needed is flexibility and patience. It also needs a multi-stakeholder approach since climate change touches on different sectors.

What future opportunities do you see for expanding DANIDA’s impact investing efforts in Kenya, particularly in the context of climate-smart solutions?

There are huge opportunities in climate adaptation and nature-based solutions, since most of the focus has been in climate change mitigation. This is going to be Danida focus moving forward.

How important is collaboration between organizations like DANIDA and local partners in achieving sustainable and impactful climate-smart investments?

For sustainability of any intervention, local ownership is paramount. This therefore calls for close collaboration between Danida and local partners. After all, Danida funding is catalytic in nature. Danida support therefore needs to span beyond grant funding.

Lastly, what key takeaways or insights would you like our readers to gain from this interview about DANIDA’s commitment to driving positive change through climate-smart enterprise investments?

Danida is committed to ensuring a safe and inclusive world, and consequently a Development Partner that can be depended upon in achieving this. Its ambitions as contained in the Danish Climate Act is clear demonstration.

Our discussion with Mr. Wasike sheds light on the profound commitment of DANIDA to fostering positive change through climate-smart enterprise investments. DANIDA’s mission, rooted in the ambitious Danish Climate Act, sets a clear course for achieving substantial reductions in carbon emissions and zero net emissions by 2050. This vision drives DANIDA’s involvement in climate-smart enterprises, recognizing the urgent need for innovative solutions to combat climate change.

Partnering with organizations like Kenya Climate Ventures (KCV) reflects DANIDA’s recognition of the vital role of patient and flexible financing instruments in supporting these innovations.