AfDB launches $996m funding for Africa startups

Wednesday September 06 2023

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina makes his remarks during the second day of the Africa Climate Summit held at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya on September 5, 2023. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG


The Africa Development Bank (AfDB), in partnership with the Global Center on Adaptation, has committed Ksh145.5 billion ($996.6 million) to support youth startups in the continent as part of the fight against climate change.

The bank announced on its X (previously Twitter) social media page that the funding would support youth-led businesses.

“AfDB Group and Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) are launching a Ksh145.5 billion initiative to finance youth-led businesses and startups. The capital infusion will empower young entrepreneurs across Africa. It's an exciting step towards economic growth,” reads the statement.

Read: African leaders agree on vision to tap youth talent

GCA is an international organisation focusing on accelerating solutions to climate change.

Speaking during the Africa Youth Climate Assembly, AfDB’s President Akinwumi Adesina said youth investment is critical in fostering growth and stability on the continent.


“The biggest risk is not investing in the youth,” Mr Adesina said, adding that, “The youth need investment, not empowerment.”

Mr Adesina further said that African nations should voluntarily consider climate-friendly endeavours “not because someone has told us so, but because we have to”.

The bank will be expanding its existing investment of $4 million into the YouthADAPT programme, a partnership with GCA.

The programme is an annual competition and awards seeking to boost sustainable job creation through support for entrepreneurship and youth-led innovation in climate change.

The competition invites young entrepreneurs and Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises in Africa to submit innovative solutions and business ideas that can drive climate change adaptation and resilience.

As part of its partnership with GCA, AfDB is also supporting the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme.

The financier called for the change of global financial architecture to prioritise the needs of Africa, while also urging delegates to mobilise resources for climate financing.

Read: AfDB to provide $25 million climate financing, Adesina says

Despite accounting for just four percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, climate change disproportionately hurts Africa.

It poses a considerable threat to human well-being and development on the continent.

Many African countries are heavily reliant on climate-vulnerable sectors such as energy, tourism, water and agriculture to survive and grow their economies.

Several African nations depend significantly on sectors that are sensitive to climate change such as energy, tourism, water resources, and agriculture, as the mainstays of their economic sustenance and expansion.

President William Ruto has asked delegates and world leaders to treat Africa as an equal in the fight against climate change.

Climate change threatens sustainable development in Africa, particularly among poor and highly vulnerable countries that have contributed least to greenhouse gas emissions.

The bank increased the percentage of its projects that are based on climate-informed designs, from 77 per cent in 2016 to 94 per cent in 2022.

Its climate finance investments increased from $2.1 billion in 2020 to $2.4 billion in 2021 and $3.6 billion in 2022 while directing 67 per cent of its climate finance investments toward adaptation in 2021, and 63 per cent in 2022.