This article was initially published in RES4Africa website on June 7, 2023.
7th June 2023, Cairo, Egypt – Today, RES4Africa Foundation, in collaboration with the Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme and Gebal Egypt hosted the event titled “What Does It Take to Accelerate Investment in Water-Energy-Food Nexus Projects?”. Bringing together private and public stakeholders from the international energy sector, the conference provided the space for an open dialogue on existing Water-Energy-Food Nexus projects. It also allowed to take stock of perspectives and lessons learned on the development of innovative technologies, business models, and investment opportunities, while understanding key challenges to accelerate WEF Nexus solutions powered by renewable energy.
WEF nexus approach in Business models
In recent years, the WEF Nexus approach has become an essential part of international development agendas: considering how water, energy, and food systems are connected, it can display business models that respond to essential development needs, especially in Africa and the MENA region. The discussion highlighted how these business models can increase economic productive capacity and drive socio-economic welfare, in support of countries’ abilities to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Challenges and opportunities of the WEF Nexus
RES4Africa, GIZ, Gebal and 50 attendees, discussed the current state of the nexus scene, evaluating the existing business models and financing mechanisms as well as providing an in-depth understanding of the current challenges and opportunities to deploy integrated projects in the MENA region. The dialogue was carried out thanks to the contribution of experts and institutional representatives committed at various levels to MENA’s energy transition and WEF Nexus path, such as GIZ, RES4Africa, Gebal Egypt, EEAS Cairo, RCREEE, Arab Water Council, the National Bank of Egypt, Water Energy for Food Programme, AgriSoft, EnGreen, Egymag, and Platfarm. The discussion contributed to spread the word about integrated, nexus-based approaches, while also representing the perfect occasion to present the findings of two reports on WEF Nexus business models and financing mechanisms: Designing Innovative Solutions for the Water, Energy and Food Nexus and Financing the Water, Energy and Food Nexus, developed by RES4Africa on behalf of the Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme, co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Implemented by GIZ.
The essentiality of cooperation and collaboration between Institutions for success
“Today we showed how the WEF Nexus approach can turn into a powerful ally for the sustainable development of the African countries”, commented Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General at RES4Africa.” With its application, the positive outcomes of renewables can truly be maximised and put at the service of pretty much all the sector of human productivity, boosting growth, sustainability and inclusion”.
Moreover Irene Sander, Head of Nexus Programme Component at GIZ, pointed out how “today’s workshop brought together many different stakeholders ranging from the banking sector, to policy makers at national and regional level to community representatives – this diversity marks the essence of the Nexus approach. Many different perspectives and insights were shared today about the policy and financial support, that is needed to bring integrated solutions to a wide a user base”. Furthermore, she added that “We need more of these cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder exchanges and we need to above all make sure to institutionalize them. But one of my main take-away from today’s discussion is the need for a bottom-up approach to close both the policy and the funding gap -so in other words, needs driven activities to pave the way for the systemic change that is inherent to the Nexus approach. Overall, I leave this workshop with a lot of optimism and inspiration to continue working with our partners at RES4Africa and Gebal to mainstream integrated natural resources management”.
Finally, Dr. Tina Jaskolski, Co-Founder, Gebal Egypt, said that “While the WEF nexus seems quite sensible in theory, implementing nexus approaches in policies and programs, and in farming approaches on the ground is often much more challenging. While many successful nexus models exist, the big question remains how we can possibly create the enabling environment that will help millions of farmers replicate and upscale such models. This includes not only targeted policy design, but also financial products that will help boost private investment in nexus solutions”.
The event saw the participation of:
- Irene Sander, Head of Programme Component - Water, Energy and Food security Nexus, GIZ;
- Tina Jaskolski, Co-Founder, Gebal Egypt; • Johan Heymans, Head of GIZ Project Component, Nile Delta Water Management Project;
- Raphael Demoulier, Attaché - Cooperation, EEAS Cairo;
- Ghada Amin, Technical Advisor of the Nexus Regional Dialogue in MENA, GIZ;
- Khalid Salmi, Sustainable Energy Management Expert, RCREEE;
- Amel M. Azab, Water Resources Management & Capacity Development Expert, Arab Water Council;
- Ayman Ayad, Water and Utilities Sector Manager, EEAS Cairo;
- Luca Traini, Head of Access to Energy and Sub-Saharan Africa, RES4Africa Foundation;
- Mr. Tamer Badr Ali, D. Manager, Finance Program Sector, SMEs Group, National Bank of Egypt;
- Rima Jreich, Specialist MENA Region, RES4Africa Foundation;
- Dr. Diaa Yousef, CEO, AgriSoft;
- Dr. Ahmed Huzayyin, MENA RIH TA Manager, Water, Energy for Food Programme;
- Daniele Guzzo, Access to Energy Officer, RES4Africa Foundation;
- Eng. Hassan Husseiny, Sustainability and Community Development, Gebal Egypt;
- Francesco Roncallo, Business Development manager, EnGreen;
- Dr. Ahmed Rady, Egymag representative;
- Dr. Atef AbdulWahed, Platfarm representative.
RES4Africa Foundation (Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa)
The foundation envisions the sustainable transformation of Africa’s electricity systems to ensure reliable and affordable electricity access for all, enabling the continent to achieve its full, resilient, inclusive, and sustainable development. The Foundation’s mission is to create favorable conditions for scaling up investments in clean energy technologies to accelerate the continent’s just energy transition and transformation.
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