Summary of the paper

This paper investigates the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) in supporting the development of enabling conditions for adaptation to climate change among micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries, with a focus on Kenya.

Enabling private sector adaptation to climate change among small businesses in developing countries: What role for multi-stakeholder partnerships? Experiences from Kenya

SMEs in developing countries are often highly exposed to climate risk and may face major barriers within their business environment to adapting to the impacts of climate change. Yet, until now, pathways to overcoming these barriers and to implementing action to support SME adaptation have been very sparsely treated within the literature.

In this paper, the authors explore the ways in which multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) are being mobilised to support SMEs to adapt to climate change in Kenya, and the rationales underpinning interest in MSPs as a model to structure the delivery of adaptation resources in development practice.

The research suggests that MSPs can mobilise a wide range of private sector actors to deliver adaptation goods and services that overcome barriers to adaptation for SMEs, including those in remote regions. As a result, MSPs are often seen to present an exciting opportunity to plug gaps in adaptation and development finance and to upscale adaptation at local levels. However, the analysis suggests that dependence on market mechanisms for delivering adaptation resources means MSPs may exclude the poorest groups, expose businesses to new risks and reproduce existing inequalities. Additionally, despite expectations that market-based approaches will support partnership sustainability, MSPs often remain heavily dependent on donor-led organisations for both resources and momentum. In Kenya, opportunities to develop more integrated responses to supporting the adaptive capacity of SMEs through MSPs are also being missed owing to a disconnect between the practice of MSPs and the national public–private partnerships governing framework.

The authors identify opportunities to enhance the strategic design of MSPs to support more inclusive adaptation and reduce the risk of MSPs reproducing existing inequalities. They conclude that employing MSPs in development action may necessitate rethinking donor programming to enable ongoing monitoring.

Key points for decision-makers

  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) are collaborative arrangements that bring together actors from government, the private sector and civil society.
  • This study empirically investigates stakeholder perceptions of the design and function of MSPs that seek to support adaptation among SMEs in Kenya. This was done through in-depth key informant interviews with partners actively engaged in the design and implementation of MSPs for SME adaptation, including from the public, civil society and private sectors.
  • Through action and investment from donor-funded and public sectors, MSPs in Kenya are supporting private sector actors to deliver adaptation resources to small-scale producers, including in remote regions, that would otherwise fall outside of market inclusion.
  • However, the analysis shows that MSPs are not easily becoming self-sustaining, as is envisaged of market-based partnership strategies. Dependence on market mechanisms makes MSPs less likely to deliver adaptation support to the poorest, most vulnerable and most geographically remote groups.
  • MSPs may also expose SMEs to new risks and vulnerabilities and reproduce existing inequalities within adaptation action.
  • MSPs are currently a donor-led development practice in Kenya and operate outside of the partnerships framework envisioned by Kenya’s PPP Act. This limits opportunities to develop more integrated approaches to overcoming the multiple barriers to SME adaptation through MSPs.
  • Employing MSPs in development action may necessitate rethinking donor-programming to enable longer-term monitoring.

KMT Climate Research

Enabling private sector adaptation to climate change among small businesses in developing countries: What role for multi-stakeholder partnerships? Experiences from Kenya

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A Dawn of a New Chapter for Kenya Markets Trust

After years of successfully working together as partners with a shared mission of transforming sectors in East Africa, Gatsby Africa, Kenya Markets Trust and Msingi East Africa have decided to integrate and become one entity as of April 01, 2022.

The new integrated entity will be called Gatsby Africa – a philanthropic entity of Lord David Sainsbury and will operate across six sectors in East Africa – Commercial Forestry, Aquaculture, Textiles and Apparel, Livestock, Agricultural Inputs, and Water.

We believe that the ambition and vision of the new organisation, coupled with the breadth of our portfolio, puts us in a strong position to deliver a meaningful level of impact for millions of people in the East African region. It equally strengthens our ability to generate and share our learning with others.

Coming together allows us to leverage the strengths of the three organisations, brings efficiency to how we work, and ensures we have a greater impact in our work.

What does this mean for the work that we have been passionately championing over the years? There will be no changes to the focus and modalities of how we work or our shared commitments – our three existing programmes will continue to operate in the same way they have always done.

We will be launching the new integrated Gatsby Africa organisation on April 01, 2022. By mid-April, we will share with you a link to our new website and official social media handles. However, we will retain our current website for a minimum period of six months, so that our knowledge materials are available to you. We shall be moving these over to our new website so that nothing will be lost.

As an organisation, we are excited about the opportunities that this integration brings for our people, partners and the sectors we work in. We are humbled by the collaboration and good working relationship we have had with all our different stakeholders and look forward to continuing working with you in the new organisation.