Investable Green Industrial Cities Standards previewed at COP28 Africa Investment Earthshot Summit

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While Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are well-recognised place-based investment tools for economic development, there is an urgent need to evolve bankability models and practices in the direction of investable Green Industrial Cities (GICs). GICs are destinations that nurture productive, long-term growth and attract industrial capital at scale. However, they do much more. GIC’s represent a greening and investment transformation that refurbishes existing and future SEZs, making them more attractive and resilient as green manufacturing hubs for productive innovation and industrial growth.

The Africa Climate Summit 2023 and its Nairobi Declaration underscored the need for institutional investor public partnerships to mobilise private capital at scale and speed to make the continent a global green technologies and manufacturing leader and capture its outsized share of the $10 trillion per annum and growing global Green Industrial Economy. While investments are pivotal, so are the methods and tools that will ultimately unite the interests of both institutional investors, industrial companies, SME’s, and local communities to deliver a place-based, just energy investment transition. This is of particular importance for communities sitting on significant mineral reserves critical for green transition technologies in high global demand.

“GIC’s are central to the delivery of Scope 3 decarbonisation, JET-Ps, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the African Union’s Nairobi Declaration. We therefore need to enfranchise more at-scale investment innovations and institutional investor-public partnerships (IIPPs), as well as the use of catalytic digital twin technologies, to bring together institutional investors, industrial companies, SME’s, and mayors while disencumbering and networking global off-take markets. This type of GIC place-based impact investment network is at the core of the emerging GIC Global Alliance we will launch during the COP28 Presidency,” says Dr. Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman, Africa investor (AI), Chairman, African Union Continental Business Network (CBN), and co-host of the COP28 Investment Earthshot Leaders Summit and NDC Investment Awards.

The summit saw the release of a working paper on Green Industrial Cities, prepared by a team of global experts on cities, energy, investment, and finance. This initiative comes on the back of a collaboration signed earlier this year between United Cities, and the African Union convened, investor-led Just Transition Investors Alliance (JTIA). The publication draws on proven models  for establishing the operating system for investable future Green Industrial Cities.  

In a comment, contributor and United Cities Sustainability Centre CEO, Dr. Kristian Mjoen, explained:

“GICs are a more viable way for cities to pursue financial stability, investment attractiveness, circular infrastructure resiliency, and long-term offtakes. The status quo will not suffice.”

The next session on the GIC working paper will be convened as part of the Net Zero Energy and Prosperity Conference to be hosted in Trondheim, Norway, on January 25, 2024. Inquires about the publication or the GIC Global Alliance can be directed to

The working paper has been supported by Norway through a High Potential Opportunities (HPO) grant from Innovation Norway.  

Link to the working paper:

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