Banana market in the Mount Kenya region.
Banana market in the Mount Kenya region. Kenya’s economy is largely rural and is heavily dependent on its natural resource base. Photo credit: Neil Palmer via Flickr

Private investments in adaptation are important. The costs of adaptation are too high to be met by the public sector alone, and developed countries have expressly envisioned private-sector contributions in their pledge to mobilize 100 billion USD per year by 2020 to support climate action in developing countries.

This policy brief focuses on how Kenya can bolster private investment in adaptation, starting by creating an enabling environment. Adaptation is a priority to both the Kenyan government and its development partners, but private adaptation has not been mainstreamed in key government policies.

The Kenyan private sector appears unfamiliar with the concept of adaptation. Where it acts on adaptation, its purpose is generally resource efficiency or to address land degradation. This makes it hard to track mobilized private investments. For example, rural communities might contribute to adaptation though improved water management. However, related expenditure remains unknown, as is the extent to which it is financed by banks. Neither actor tracks or reports investments in adaptation.

It is even harder to assess if private investments, once mobilized, actually deliver on adaptation. Regardless of the underlying motivations, many investments that reduce poverty or stimulate sustainable resource use contribute to adaptation. However, a private actor can also adapt at the expense of communities, for example by securing or fencing off its own water intake. There are no explicit checks and balances on private-sector impacts on adaptation.

The Kenyan government could encourage more private-sector investments in adaptation. By stimulating a shared public-private awareness and understanding of adaptation, the government could improve enabling environments for private adaptation; mobilize more private investments; and improve the tracking of private investments in adaptation. Moreover, the government and development partners could include adaptation criteria in project selection and EIAs in order to reduce private maladaptation and increase private adaptation.

Download the policy brief (PDF, 1.45MB)