IFC-DRC Innovative Female Challenge Winner Secures Second Victory at COP28

IFC-DRC Innovative Female Challenge Winner Secures Second Victory at COP28

Eight dynamic African young women-led enterprises have been awarded a total of $800,000 at COP28 for their innovative climate change adaptation solutions. The winners emerged from the 2023 YouthAdapt Challenge, jointly organized by the African Development Bank Group and the Global Center on Adaptation, with support from the Africa Climate Change Fund. Each winning business will receive grant funding of up to $100,000 along with comprehensive mentorship and coaching as part of a 12-month accelerator program.

Among the distinguished winners is Deborah Nzarubara, the representative of GRECOM, a company recognized at the DRC Agribusiness Innovation Challenge held during the DRC Agribusiness Forum in Kinshasa in October of 2023. GRECOM identified challenges in the beekeeping value chain, including a lack of structure and traceability, decreased production due to inadequate beekeeping and agricultural practices, limited access to apiaries and market information systems, and low investment by stakeholders. In response, GRECOM developed Nyuki Tech, a mobile application serving as an interface between beekeepers and customers. This new accomplishment showcases the impactful progression from GRECOM's earlier recognition to this prestigious achievement on the global stage.

This innovative solution enables beekeepers to register, be identified, and receive technical instructions. Nyuki Tech allows remote monitoring of hives, control of temperature, humidity, and predators, and assists in determining the optimal harvest time. Additionally, the app provides valuable market information by region, while earning commissions on each facilitated sale. Past winners shared experiences about how the grant has empowered their ventures, propelling business expansion, innovation in clean technologies, and generating global impact. To see the full list of winners and their initiatives click here.

Since its launch in 2021, the YouthADAPT initiative has provided over $5 million to 33 young entrepreneurs from 19 African nations. This year's focus was on female-owned enterprises pioneering Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies for climate adaptation, including artificial intelligence, big data analytics, virtual reality, robotics, Internet of Things, quantum computing, additive manufacturing, blockchain, and fifth-generation wireless.

Speaking at the ceremony held at COP28 in Dubai, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, highlighted the importance of harnessing youth ideas and creativity to enhance livelihoods and national prosperity. The initiative aligns with the African Development Bank's commitment to creating 25 million jobs for youth.

The CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, Professor Patrick Verkooijen, emphasized the need to nurture Africa's youth talent, stating that young people hold the key to unlocking the continent's economic potential.

The winning ventures, led by women from various African countries, focus on sectors affected by climate change, including agriculture, energy efficiency, disaster risk management, water resources, and biodiversity conservation. The awards aim to provide crucial support in scaling up youth-led climate businesses and innovations, with an emphasis on removing barriers to finance, particularly for women.