UNIDO, ACEF Partners to support SMEs dev’t in Africa

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund(AECF) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Africa.
Both UNIDO and AECF recognize the central role of the private sector – specifically SMEs and entrepreneurs in promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development that can deliver local technology innovation to address the energy, food, environmental and economic challenges of today.
For this reason, the two organizations will support the development and growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs that are involved in climate and sustainable energy technologies and business, agri-business and food security as well as youth and women economic empowerment.
Director General for UNIDO, LI Yong said “Under the agreement, we will work together to boost local SMEs and entrepreneurs in the delivery of climate and clean energy solutions in Africa, focusing on sustainable energy and agri-business sector. Through our joint activities, UNIDO and AECF will unlock the ingenuity of SMEs and entrepreneurs who are the drivers of the transition to low-carbon and climate resilient industries in the partner countries and create jobs,”
According to a statement by the organizations, “Global trends and experiences have shown the catalytic potential of technology innovation in addressing the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Climate change also offers opportunities for economic growth through the creation of new industries and business models. The agility of SMEs and start-ups allows them to be key players providing innovative technology solutions and products that address local challenges. Despite this, SMEs and start-ups in developing countries that have clean technological and business model innovations are not systematically supported as the innovation ecosystems in the countries are often weak.”
“At AECF, we believe that a thriving and robust private sector will drive inclusivity and sustainability that leads to a green economic growth trajectory,” Lord Paul Boateng, AECF Board Chair said.
Today, resource constraints and climate concerns are opportunities for new and sustainable business models and technology innovations to drive economic growth. SMEs and entrepreneurs are in a good position to drive economic development as well as inclusive and sustainable industrial development, and therefore need to be supported.
The partnership will build on what UNIDO has been doing under its Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP), the Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) and under agri-business development.