P4G Head of Partnerships Robyn McGuckin and Head of Strategy and Engagement Leila Yim Surratt traveled to Zambia, South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia last month to contribute to the continued growth of African P4G National Platforms, strengthen vital relationships and further accelerate P4G partnerships functioning in these areas.
In Zambia, the focus surrounded P4G 2018 scale-up partnership Africa GreenCo, an initiative that will act as an intermediary creditworthy off-taker for renewable energy power purchase agreements across the region. The partnership, initially functioning in Zambia, where severe drought is causing adverse effects to a hydropower-dependent population, will look to scale the supply of renewable energy across Sub-Sahara Africa. McGuckin, along with Africa GreenCo Founder and CEO Ana Hajduka, met with multiple representatives across the Ministries of Energy, Finance and Planning to secure political and economic support for the partnership’s vision.
In South Africa, Surratt presented at a P4G workshop included among the Africa Utility Week activities in Cape Town, and also met with prospective 2019 partnerships to further understand their proposed solutions for a green growth economy.
At the workshop, Danish Ambassador to South Africa Tobias Elling Rehfield and Leanne Richards of the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Faye Brownell of the uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership, a 2019 partnership finalist, joined Surratt in presenting to approximately 30 attendees about their work with P4G and how it fits into the initiative’s mission and vision for the future.
Surratt reflected, “Our visit to South Africa, and especially this workshop, was especially valuable as an introduction to the P4G’s system change approach for potential new partners and partnerships.”
In Kenya and Ethiopia, both Surratt and McGuckin met with the respective country P4G National Platforms to further engage on their growth strategies and burgeoning P4G priorities.
In Ethiopia, Dawit Tedlla of the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission joined Surratt and McGuckin in front of more than 20 stakeholders to discuss the partnership application process and to lay the groundwork for future P4G partnership applications. Throughout the trip, the leadership from these National Platform representatives was a strong endorsement of P4G's potential in Ethiopia as the country further advances their pursuit of green economic growth.
A similar spirit for P4G was evident in Kenya, where numerous events displayed significant enthusiasm for P4G growth and national ownership. Rachel Muthoga, Deputy CEO of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), along with Faith Ngige, KEPSA Public-Private Dialogue Officer, and Sophie Odupoy, Director of Strategy and Communications for the Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, gave an overview of P4G’s Kenya National Platform’s progress, including their desire to convene local country partner embassies in Kenya to share P4G learnings and generate potential interest in partnerships. Later in the day, this same group ran a workshop for stakeholders who had previously submitted P4G partnership applications. The workshop was a critical moment for increasing understanding about P4G and its goals as well as curating continued interest for and engagement with the Kenya National Platform.
“We have a clear vision for how to further implement P4G in Kenya,” said Muthoga. “More and more, we are advocating for collective action in areas critical to our country’s economic and environmental vision. New projects and solutions that follow the P4G way will be important models for successful progress here.”
Finally, representatives of the P4G 2018 Partnership Sustainable Special Economic Zones Partnership (SSEZ) were present at meetings in both countries. The SSEZ partnership brings circular economy and sustainability approaches to special economic zones – areas that, while highly conducive to streamline trade, are not typically designed and operated with attention to sustainable practices. Initially implemented at the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL) free zone in Nigeria, the partnership aims to expand to zones in Ethiopia and Kenya.
In Ethiopia, Ade Okuwoga of Systemiq Addis Ababa provided insight on recent developments for the partnership’s expansion in Ethiopia, especially in agriculturally-oriented zones working in products such as coffee and oily seeds.
In Kenya, KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki and Systemiq Head of Operations Robbie Marwick emphasized their support for SSEZ’s implementation in Kenya. The partnership is currently working with both organizations to assess potential operational sites across the country.
“The SSEZ partnership provides a truly transformative approach to systems that exist across the Africa continent. In Kenya – much like in many other African countries – industrial development is central to our progress. If, in partnership with SSEZ, we can pioneer a new and better way to approach this key component to national commerce, Kenya will be able to provide a model for similar projects around the world. We’re excited at this opportunity for leadership,” said Kariuki.
“It was great to include SSEZ in many of the important connections we made in both countries,” said McGuckin. “Already, we are seeing pick up on the partnership’s vision for a more circular approach to many of the activities that take place at special economic zones across the world. This is a truly innovative idea that we are excited to see extended in Kenya, Ethiopia and beyond.”
Altogether, progress was evident at each stage of the trip, a promising outcome as P4G collects lessons from its inaugural year and plans for future progress.