Innovation in new technologies will be essential to reduce the long-term cost of climate change and to support competitiveness in Ghana, according to the World Bank.

The Bank’s infoDev program is considering a climate innovation hub in Ghana to accelerate locally-relevant clean technology innovation and entrepreneurship.

More than 100 stakeholders have met under the auspices of the World Bank in Accra to study the establishment of the Climate Innovation Center (CIC).

The feasibility assessment and the broader green growth agenda is in collaboration with Ghana’s Ministry of Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), with support from the Government of Denmark.

“We know that climate change is bringing new challenges to Ghana’s growth and natural resources. This is because a significant part of Ghana’s economic activity is dependent on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and forestry. These vulnerable sectors support a large share of employment and livelihoods for Ghana’s rural poor,” observed Ms. Coleen Littlejohn, World Bank Acting Country Manager

She says it is only by greening growth that Ghana can achieve what were formerly understood to be competing goals of robust economic expansion and proper stewardship of the environment.

The CIC would support domestic climate technology industries by addressing locally relevant barriers to climate technology transfer, development and deployment by the private sector development.

In addition to incubating promising start-ups, the Center would also provide access to finance, access to product testing facilities, market information, policy advocacy and technical assistance.

Some promising areas which potentially benefit from the CIC include climate smart agriculture, green buildings, off-grid renewable energy, waste and water treatment technology, climate-resistant infrastructure and energy-efficient manufacturing.

Research shows that strong economic growth can be combined with sustainable management of natural resources in order to promote shared prosperity and reduce poverty.

The changing climate is expected to adversely affect crop yields leading to a decline in agricultural GDP of 3-8% in the medium to long term. Increasing competitiveness in non-oil and gas sectors, such as agriculture, figures prominently in Ghana’s Shared Growth and Development Agenda.

“The worldwide attention to climate change and advances in clean technology offer an opportunity to attract significant investments in clean technology and to build up the capacity of local businesses to participate in these high value sectors”, said Ms. Littlejohn. “By seeking to capitalize on these advances in modern, clean technologies, Ghana can strengthen its resilience to climate change while also building its competitiveness in clean technology markets and industries”.

The first CIC was opened in Kenya in September 2012, and new centers are being established in Ethiopia, India, South Africa, Vietnam and the Caribbean region.

It is important that the CIC, if established in Ghana, is tailored to meet the needs of local industry, investors, technology and skills, and strengthen the capacity of these groups, noted Ms. Littlejohn.