What roles could private actors play in agricultural adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa? Insights from publicly funded projects

Sub-Saharan African countries have identified agriculture as a priority for adaptation, and engaging private actors in adaptation projects is widely recognized as essential. The authors analysed 64 agricultural adaptation projects in sub-Saharan Africa approved by five international climate funds and Rwanda’s Green Fund (FONERWA) in the period 2010–2016; of those, 39 (61%) included the private sector. These projects involved the private sector in very different ways: some use public finance to raise awareness of climate risks and adaptation opportunities, aiming to stimulate future private investment; several others channel public finance through private actors, who are hired to provide goods and services; in a much smaller number of projects, public finance is already leveraging private investment. Lessons from these projects can help identify effective policy instruments, and assess and find ways to overcome existing barriers to private sector involvement.