Introducing the GIZ Accelerator Program for Climate Change Innovations

Climate change affects communities globally with extreme weather pattern changes, rising sea levels, and temperatures, and growing greenhouse gas emissions. Some regions and societies are more heavily affected than others.

According to the World Bank, West Africa is one of the regions particularly vulnerable because of the severity of these developments as well as the strong dependence on agriculture as a main source of income and employment.

The size of climate change challenges requires actions across boards. The private sector needs to play an essential role, especially through innovation and investments. Startups’ potential is increasingly recognized and across Africa, different “climate tech” initiatives are popping up, such as the GSMA Innovation Fund for Climate Resilience and Adaptation, the Africa ClimAccelerator, and the different national Climate Innovation Centers across Africa.

Despite all these great efforts, there is still a considerable gap in funding for African climate tech. PWC calculated that African startups attract only 0,2% of the global investments made into climate tech. Looking at the portfolios of the mentioned initiatives, they struggle to reach the (Francophone) West-African regions where innovations are perhaps most needed.


Woman measuring soil in a farm

Photo credit: GIZ Accelerator for Climate Change Innovations

At the same time, the potential is there. A front-running company like Ignitia is showing that a fast-growing business model around tropical weather forecasting services for farmers can attract considerable investments. In Cameroon, startups are working on services like soil testing kits, where in Benin a startup is converting plastic jerry cans and old electronic components into new computers.

Being aware of this untapped potential, GIZ and its Digital Transformation Centers requested VC4A to set up a program dedicated to startups in Benin, Cameroon, and Niger that work on minimizing or mitigating the effects of climate change. VC4A teamed up with Etrilabs, ActivSpaces, and CIPMEN to launch the GIZ Accelerator Program for Climate Change Innovations. Through a competitive process, in each of the countries, 3 promising startups with innovative and impactful tech-based solutions will be selected as winners.

To scale up their businesses and grow their teams, these startups will benefit from a 6-month period of business mentorship and expert advice. Furthermore, the startups will be exposed to potential corporate partners and investors, get access to the services and networks of GIZ’s national Digital Transformation Centers, and will be able to tap into peers’ experiences through networking with other start-ups’ founders. Finally, each startup will receive grant funding to help scale its solutions.

Do you want to know more? Are you keen to engage as an investor, a mentor or do you want to apply as a startup? Check out the program page HERE.