Achievements of the Biodiversity Finance Accelerator (BioFA) project highlighted at side event to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development 2023
New York, 13 July 2023
The Biodiversity Finance Accelerator (BioFA) project was among the collaborators of the side event to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development organized by the Government of Flanders and SEED at the Flanders House New York on 13 July 2023. The side event highlighted the vital importance of the Eco-Inclusive SME-Innovations in contributing to the 2030 Agenda.
The event was opened by Yves Wantens, General Representative of the Government of Flanders in the US and Verónica Tomei, Head of Division of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection representing the financier of the BioFA project. As the guest of honor, Elijah Julaki Muchima, Minister of Lands and Natural Resource of Zambia provided a video message, highlighting the important role of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) for environmental protection and nature conservation efforts. He also touched upon the BioFA project as an exemplary initiative to support and scale biodiversity-positive MSMEs in Zambia as market-based approaches to tackle issues such as deforestation, overexploitation of natural resources or environmental pollution.
The side event that was attended by about 120 people (in-person and online) served as a critical multi-stakeholder platform to exchange with high-level representatives from governments, international organisations and private sector on how scalable private sector innovations can contribute to the SDGs and the triple transformation needed. Three entrepreneurs from Indonesia, Malawi and Zambia, awarded for their innovations, shared lessons from their journey. Tac-Maz Sustainable Ventures, a Malawi-based, women-led enterprise operating in the sustainable agriculture sector shared their experience with the BioFA Acceleration programme 2022 supporting them to further grow and scale their business.
The Event further celebrated the Winners of the 2023 SEED Climate Adaptation Awards, SEED being a partner project of BioFA. As a result of the BioFA support provided to biodiversity-positive MSMEs in Malawi and Zambia since 2022, part of these enterprises were able to consolidate their businesses to become selected as SEED Climate Adaptation Award winners. For instance, Forest Africa Zambia Ltd, a biodiversity-positive MSME and BioFA Accelerator programme alumni that specializes in processing indigenous wild fruits into organic and natural juices and baobab seed oil, has been selected as 2023 Climate Adaptation Award winner. Further BioFA alumni were selected as 2023 SEED Climate Adaptation Award runners-up, including Greencare Eco Solutions (Zambia) offering organic fertilizer, Kasenga Agro Solutions (Zambia) producing raw organic honey and peanut butter, as well as Zasolar (Malawi) providing clean energy solutions to customers in last-mile rural areas.
BioFA finalises Practitioner Labs: Green Finance for Climate Adaptation & Biodiversity
5 June 2023 - Lilongwe & Lusaka
The Biodiversity Finance Accelerator (BioFA), in collaboration with SEED, hosted the Practitioner Labs: Green Finance for Climate Adaptation & Biodiversity in Malawi (November 2022) and in Zambia (April 2023)l. The Practitioner Labs facilitated a hands-on process that resulted in targeted green finance solutions, which support the growth of MSMEs that are actively delivering biodiversity solutions and championing climate adaptation efforts across their value chains.
The Practitioner Labs gathered key stakeholders to co-create and refine tailored financial mechanisms to deliver capital for local biodiversity initiatives. Target participants included government representatives, regulators, financial institutions, banks, NGOs, international organisations, academia, green SMEs and private sector actors.
There were two workshops in Malawi and Zambia, a Kick-Off Lab and a Scale-Up Lab, with panel expert presentations, co-creation sessions and knowledge sharing, and networking. In Lilongwe, the Kick-off Lab was held on November 17th and 18th 2022 and the Scale-Up Lab on November 24th 2022. And the most recent edition was held in Lusaka from April 12th to 14th 2023 (Kick-off and Scale-up Lab).
The Practitioner Labs is a tried and tested concept for multi-stakeholder collaboration and co-creation to produce tangible outputs that drive forward existing initiatives for green finance. Other past iterations of the Practitioner Labs are SEED Practitioner Labs for Policy Prototyping & Climate Finance (South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, Indonesia, Thailand, India) and UGEFA Green Finance Academy Trainings and Innovation Lab (Uganda). The output from the Practitioner Labs in Malawi can be found here, and the output from Zambia can be found here.
The Practitioner Labs are implemented by adelphi (Germany), Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Malawi), UMODZI Consulting (Malawi) and the Women's Entrepreneurship Access Centre – WEAC (Zambia). The Labs are part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) supported by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) of Germany.
For more information, please contact our team: Julia Rohe-Frydrych, Project Manager, rohe-frydrychadelphi [dot] de (subject: Practitioner%20Labs%20Malawi) (here)
BioFA Impact Insights: The effects of biodiversity-positive MSMEs in Malawi and Zambia
9 December 2022 – Lilongwe & Lusaka
Globally biodiversity loss has been accelerated by human-induced changes to ecosystems and their functions. In Malawi and Zambia, biodiversity plays a crucial role in the socio-economic success especially considering its role in forestry, fisheries, and wildlife sectors. Unfortunately, mass deforestation and demand for timber products have resulted in severe losses of biodiversity in these ecosystems.
The BioFA team has published an impact report to illustrate the crucial role of biodiversity-positive enterprises in protecting and restoring natural environments. Through two surveys conducted before and after the BioFA enterprise support programme, the report reviews how participating enterprises support biodiversity conservation and restoration, insights to their economic potential, and their impact on providing quality and equal jobs for their employees.
The results found that these enterprises improve the status of biodiversity by (a) providing biodiversity-based products that improve the abundance of important insects (i.e. bees), indigenous species, and trees for reforestation; (b) providing sustainable alternative resources that reduce communities' demands for forest or other natural products; and (c) ensuring sustainable management of aquaculture and fisheries. Strikingly, 86.2% of the enterprises reported growth in 2021 with an average 90% increase in sales compared to 2020. In addition, 92.8% of the enterprises provided their employees with several of the quality job indices, including components such as equal pay, work benefits, and skills training. However, these enterprises remain highly vulnerable to climate change as their supply chains and customers face impacts that hamper business performances.
All in all, this report demonstrated the necessity for further inclusion of biodiversity-positive entrepreneurship in the international dialogue on the conservation of biodiversity as well as global and national actions to accelerate green finance for climate action. It is imperative that these biodiversity-positive enterprises are recognized as key actors in the green economy transition and continue to receive financial and non-financial support from the public and private sectors.
BioFA Accelerator: Announcing the newly selected biodiversity-positive enterprises
16 June 2022 – Lusaka & Lilongwe
We are delighted to announce that 29 biodiversity-positive enterprises from Malawi and Zambia have been selected to join the 9-months Biodiversity Finance Accelerator (BioFA) support programme to scale their business operations and mobilise investments. Biodiversity-positive enterprises have developed business models which from the outset are designed to conserve and restore ecosystems and thus create positive biodiversity impacts. Selected enterprises have gone through a thorough selection process, competing with a total of 143 applications received with the final selection taken by an international expert jury.
The BioFA acceleration programme aims to support the chosen enterprises with highly interactive capacity-building programmes. Throughout the programme, the enterprises will consolidate their business model, develop financial plans, and become eligible for external financing. In addition, they will be part of networking and peer-learning formats such as the Biodiversity Roundtables to facilitate multi-stakeholder and cross-sector collaboration.
Many selected enterprises focus on providing resource alternatives by creating briquettes from biomass or agricultural waste. INNORET, Greenspa, Youth Progressive Environmental Solutions, and Chaca Rice Processing Initiative make briquettes from sawdust, rice husks, or maize. Central Engineering Workshop and Maravi Charcoal also offer low-cost machinery to produce eco-briquettes. The enterprise ZASOLAR provides solar lanterns or home energy systems in addition to sustainable charcoal. Gasbes Energy focuses on creating a network of biogas producers and users while also selling production equipment. By providing alternatives to firewood or charcoal, these biodiversity-positive enterprises discourage increasing deforestation in Malawi and Zambia.
Sustainable agriculture is another sector the selected biodiversity-positive enterprises are engaged in. Tac-Maz Sustainable Ventures and Kaoma District Women Development Association provide seed, crop, and livestock to their surrounding communities while promoting sustainable farming practices. Mwachrimu Farms Foundation focuses on cultivating organic beans, while Malaika Enterprise produces organic mushrooms. Environmental Industries, Greencare Eco Solutions, and Twalima Agro Solutions tackle soil degradation by creating organic fertilizers made from waste. Sustainable Farming Solutions aims to provide network support for smallholder farmers, while Gailsea Innovation Limited focuses on fish farm support to limit the negative impacts on natural water bodies. Junior Agripreneur Hub Africa trains young agricultural entrepreneurs on sustainable agricultural methods.
Biodiversity-positive enterprises like Forest Africa Zambia Limited provide biodiversity-based products, such as juice, oil, and briquettes from indigenous fruits. Green Basin Naturals uses indigenous and cultivated plants to create specialty soaps and oils. Win Link General Dealers uses organic waste to replace chemical-based school chalk with an organic alternative. Several biodiversity-based products are related to bees, with Kasenge Agro Solutions and Queens Bee Products Limited focused on producing honey and wax. African Honey and Food Products Livingstonia Beekeepers Enterprises, and Nature Save offer eco-friendly beekeeping products.
Other enterprises are engaged in providing financial support to agriculturalists, such as Agwenda Women Input Loan Initiative, ecotourism and fishery conservation, such as Alinafe Online Limited, and afforestation, such as Diamond Touch Limited,
The BioFA project is implemented by adelphi, a leading think-and-do tank for climate, environment, and development, jointly with the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Malawi) and the Women's Entrepreneurship Access Centre – WEAC (Zambia). This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) supported by The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) of Germany.