This newsletter gives you highlights of selected sustainability insights that were, perhaps, too long (you) didn’t read (TLDR) or there’s just too much out there to read. The highlights presented cover insights gleaned from a global, regional (African), and national (Kenyan) perspective. Happy reading!

GLOBAL: World Economic Forum (WEF) – The Global Risks Report 2022 

Every year (17 editions) the WEF publishes its global risks reports that present global risks as perceived by world leaders in business government, civil society, and risk experts. The report’s risks are across five categories: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological. Here are selected highlights from the report, I have opted to highlight the top 5 risks selected from the global risks perception survey

  • Risks that got worse since the pandemic (COVID-19 Hindsight):
    • Social Cohesion Erosion
    • Livelihood Crises
    • Climate Action Failure
    • Mental Health Deterioration
    • Extreme Weather
  • When will risks become a critical threat to the world Global Risks Horizon):

0 – 2 years

2 – 5 years

5 – 10 years

Extreme Weather

Climate Action Failure

Climate Action Failure

Livelihoods Crises

Extreme Weather

Extreme Weather

Climate Action Failure

Social Cohesion Erosion

Biodiversity Loss

Social Cohesion Erosion

Livelihoods Crises

Natural Resource Crises

Infectious Diseases

Debt Crises

Human Environmental Damage

  • Most potentially damaging risks (Global Risks Horizon):
    • Climate Action Failure
    • Extreme Weather
    • Biodiversity Loss
    • Livelihood Crises
    • Social Cohesion Erosion

My Two-Cents: From this WEF report, it is evident that environmental and societal risks are at the for of all risks for the next decade. As you deliberate on and deliver your sustainability-related strategies and actions for the year and the next decade; environmental protection and conservation; livelihood resilience; social cohesion and inclusivity may need to be top of your list. 


Foresight Africa – Top priorities for the Continent in 2022

Published by the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C, this annual report proposes priorities and recommendations for Africa from experts on the region and in their field. Here are some insights from the report’s priorities:

  • The nature of African societies perceives that working hard is what gets you ahead economically – African people believe in meritocracy – and want to pass on this value (of working hard ) to our children (Henn, S. 2021).
  • Being cosmopolitan is in our DNA! We grow up and thrive within endless different cultures, religions, languages, and histories – which makes African people naturally inclusive e.g “The word ‘stranger’ and ‘guest’ are the same in most African languages”
  • Africans believe in their future because they believe in the talents and character of their people, rather than the continent’s natural resources.
  • Majority of African households rely mostly on wood and charcoal as their main cooking fuel.
  • Women make up half of Africa’s population, will Africa reach its development potential if half of its population is lagging behind?
  • For once, Africa’s underdevelopment is the greatest opportunity for better: development led by renewable energy, and more environmentally smart societies and economies. The fact is, if Africa doesn’t succeed in this, the entire world/entire planet won’t succeed in climate action (Africa holds the key)
  • The continent must invest in ICT and technology infrastructure; and prepare our young workforce for new technologies – to avoid increasing the gap between Africa and other continents. The private sector has to be a key player in this partnering with government (private-public partnerships) to drive the continent’s technology into the future. This included data governance and digital diplomacy. Lastly, blockchain technology are the future and regulators should focus on how to develop this technology, rather than hinder – the blockchain train has already left the station, and is too late to stop it. 
  • The continent’s external relations have to focus on enabling its own people and its own private sector. Africans want alternative development partners from China and the US (Afrobarometer, 2021). Old and new partners abound e.g India with opportunities for healthcare and pharma, the UK with a reset in relations to focus on renewables and support to the AfCFTA, Russia seeking elite-based and not state-based relationships (Foresight Africa, p. 117), the Gulf seeking partnerships for their food security and economic diversification, among others. African countries must move towards the ‘Africa We Want’ from the Africa they want. 

My Two-Cents: The African continent has countless challenges, but challenges are also opportunities. Opportunities for solutions that are business and market-based, profitable and impact-driven. How we see it as a choice: the glass is either half-full or half-empty.

Global Compact Africa Strategy 2021-2023

The Global Compact is the world’s largest sustainability initiative. It is a platform for businesses to learn, dialogue, and partner on sustainability on the Global Compacts Ten Principles (in human rights, labor, the environment, and anti-corruption) and the SDGs. In 2021 Global Compact launched a new Africa Strategy. From their regional network councils (5 in total) Africa’s is the smallest. But this is soon to change. The Africa strategy will:

  • Prioritise Africa’s largest economic centers and companies to drive impact. 
  • Include all companies and sectors – particularly SMEs, which are 90% of Africa’s businesses, employ two-thirds of the formal workforce, and are 40% of Africa’s GDP
  • Leverage business associations, supply chains, and financial institutions for eco-system transformation

The Global Compact has prioritized leading with business on the following SGDs: SGD 5 – Gender Equality, SGD 8 – Descent Work and Economic Growth, SGD 13 – Climate Action, SGD 16 – Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions, SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals.

The Global Compact is a platform to learn, dialogue, and partner.

My Two-Cents: Global Compact has been instrumental in driving and championing corporate sustainability in other regions like Europe, Asia, and Latin America, it’s time for the movement to do the same in Africa. Sustainability (The GC’s Ten Principles and the SDGs) requires us to work together – no one individual, company, or stakeholder can solve them alone.


Nairobi Bus Rapid Transport Network Goes Electric

The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, NAMATA, is looking to buy or lease electric, hybrid, and biodiesel buses for Nairobi’s upcoming Bus Rapid Transport Network. The BRT seeks to reduce Nairobi’s traffic congestion; while improving public transport efficiency and importantly carbon-efficiency. Nairobi’s traffic is estimated to cost $1 billion in productivity (Bloomberg, 2019).

My Two Cents: The has gone out, so time will tell if Nairobi’s traffic will get better and greener. Nairobi definitely needs both!

Kenya Development Corporation Embedding Sustainability

KDC has been accepted into the Sustainable Standards and Certification Initiatives (SSCI) program by the European Organization for Sustainable Development. SSCI is a global initiative for implementing and maintaining holistic, universally accepted, and executable sustainability factors in banking and finance. KDC’s certificate of acceptance means that they are committed to influencing positive market transformation and leadership in sustainability.

Kenya Development Corporation Ltd (KDC) is a Development Finance Institution that was established in 2020 to merge the operations of Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC), Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC), and IDB Capital Limited. It plays a vital role in addressing critical gaps for long-term funding that cannot be met by commercial banks in target sectors in Kenya. 

KDC seeks to grow financial support to SMEs from Ksh 4.52 billion in 2021 to Ksh 29.44 billion by June 2024. 

My Two-Cents: The more financial institutions embedding sustainability considerations into their operations and lending, the better. KDC is a fairly new entity, it seems to have started on the right track towards creating positive ESG impact through its financing.