Nairobi, November 19, 2015 - Kenya wants to be as green as Denmark and the Danish model of collaboration between public and private parties has attracted the interest of Kenya’s government. For the next five years, the Danish consultancy firm, Quercus Group, will be personal advisor to the Kenyan central government – the goal is to establish Kenya’s position as a new "land of opportunity" with cleantech. The long-term potential for Danish export is enormous.
New export of the "Danish mindset" is receiving great attention in Kenya. National Television in Kenya has just reported that the Danish company, Quercus Group, will advise all ministries and regions in Kenya on green growth, a topic that is high on the national agenda. The end goal is to create a national collaboration platform inspired by Danish cluster organisations.
CEO of Quercus Group has comprehensive knowledge in this field. Nicolai Sederberg Rottbøll was the main initiator and driver of Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster where he was Head of Secretariat for four years, from 2008 to 2012. Through Quercus Group he now assists both governments and organisations such as DI and embassies in linking Danish cleantech to the international markets or building cluster initiatives. Quercus Group has already worked in more than 20 countries, employing eight people in Copenhagen and two in Nairobi, Kenya.
The first step in building larger green growth efforts in Kenya is training of the relevant people in Kenya's ministries, agencies and 47 counties (sub-regions). There is a need of mindset change, government employees need to understand that Green Growth is happening not just to save the planet but because Kenya can profit from green growth.
At present, only 20% of the population access to reliable electricity and other energy sources. Energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, recycling, waste management and water treatment are ways to create new resources. Key policymakers need to understand the relevance of new green energy and green business models and on that basis, to create the right framework conditions that can support green growth. “We must explain that green growth equals business”, says Nicolai Sederberg Rottbøll.
An opening for Danish cleantech
The consultancy task also has the effect that it opens up Kenya for Danish cleantech: “Danish cleantech should seize the opportunities in Kenya that are brought about by this agreement,” says Nicolai Sederberg Rottbøll.
Principal Secretary of Kenya's Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development, Dr. Wilson Songa, and the two largest Kenyan business organisations, KAM and KEPSA, participated in the signing of the consultancy contract; representatives from the Royal Danish Embassy in Kenya were also present. According to Dr. Songa, the agreement paves the way for making Kenya a leading example of green growth in Africa.
Danish cleantech companies have global potential, but according to DI's new report "Africa's potential - seen in a Danish perspective", Danish companies have not really been able to get a firm grip of the African markets. If Denmark could match the EU average, it would provide additional annual exports of DKK 7 billion. Danish cleantech companies must keep in mind that 20 of the fastest growing economies in the world are African. Vestas and some of the other major companies are present in Kenya, but the majority of Danish cleantech is not, according to Nicolai Sederberg Rottbøll.
According to Kenya's Nordic Embassy in Stockholm, the most important green energy opportunities for Danish companies are within geothermal, wind and solar power. Kenya's plan is to expand its energy production in these areas with 5,000 megawatts over the next three years. Nicolai also highlights waste management, water management, bio-energy and smart city technologies, such as solar-powered LED light as areas with great potential for Danish companies.
Furthermore, the Kenyan agriculture is also growing very fast as it dominates the country’s economy (24 percent of the GDP). The majority of Kenyans make a living from agriculture, even though less than 8 percent of the land is used. Because of its importance, counties are looking to increase the efficiency of agriculture with the help of technology, including foreign investments.
Kenya adopts Danish cluster model
After the Green Growth training, the next step for Quercus Group will be to facilitate the creation of a national collaborative platform, referred to as the Green Growth Cluster Collaboration Platform. This Kenyan cluster will create green, public solutions and new green businesses in Kenya – and will just as importantly be communicating the green business opportunities in Kenya internationally.
“In Kenya, we must also create partnerships and exchange green business models. There are for example business opportunities from recycling car tires and plastic waste, and Kenya needs help to scale up on initiatives like these. But the solution to Kenya's green transformation does not only rely on the creation of new businesses. First and foremost it will require a long-term effort from the central administration to put in place the appropriate framework conditions and incentives for green growth. Our task is to create ripples in the water towards that”, explains Nicolai Sederberg Rottbøll.
Dr. Wilson Songa wants the Green Growth Cluster Collaboration Platform secretariat to be in place within a year. During this time, the first big green growth conference is also planned. Kenya’s Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development will fund these efforts.
Quercus Group’s consultancy agreement with the Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development runs over the next 5 years. On the longer term, there is an even greater ambition that the Danish CCC-model (Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster, ed.) would cover an entire East African cluster stretching across multiple borders.
Quercus Group Founder and CEO
Nicolai Sederberg Rottbøll,
M: +45 2949 4561,