What roles could private actors play in agricultural adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa?
This discussion brief (PDF) by the Stockholm Environment Institute examines the role of private actors in publicly funded agricultural adaptation projects in sub-Saharan Africa, identifying different types of involvement. The goal is to provide a foundation for exploring ways to expand the role of private actors, and to identify ways in which public climate finance could be used to catalyze and scale up private investment in the sector. Interest in involving private actors in climate change adaptation is growing. Sub-Saharan African countries have identified agriculture as a priority for adaptation, and engaging private actors, including smallholder farmers and small and medium-sized businesses, in adaptation projects is widely recognized as essential. The analysis identified 64 agricultural adaptation projects in sub-Saharan Africa approved by five international climate funds and Rwanda’s Green Fund (FONERWA) in the period 2010–2016; of those, 39 (61%) included the private sector. These projects involve the private sector in very different ways: some use public finance to raise awareness of climate risks and adaptation opportunities, aiming to stimulate future private investment; several others channel public finance through private actors, who are hired to provide goods and services; in a much smaller number of projects, public finance is already leveraging private investment. It is important to draw lessons from these projects and share knowledge across sub-Saharan Africa, to gain further insight into how private actors become engaged in agricultural adaptation, identify effective policy instruments, and assess and find ways to overcome existing barriers.