In a continued effort to contribute to the existing knowledge, share experiences and expertise, but also embrace continued knowledge generation and sharing, the morning of Tuesday June 19, 2018 saw four of the RAN team members join in the first ever Practitioner Lab Climate Finance engagement. The hands-on collaborative session attracted 130 key players from not only the climate financing landscape but also related key institutions. Participants converged at Sheraton Hotel Kampala and were engaged in defining the key challenges, discussing ideas for prototype solutions, developing a financial product prototype and developing a roadmap for the product development. The RAN team was represented by; Dr. Julius Ssentongo, Program Coordinator; Deborah Naatujuna,  Engagement Manager; Natasha Kassami, Engagement Officer and Harriet Adong, Communications Manager.

Uganda is one of the hubs for climate finance in sub-Saharan Africa. International and national public institutions, donors, banks and investors are already channeling significant amounts of money into climate finance, but challenges exist in the creation of a steady deal flow in the private sector. Well-designed climate finance products that reduce investors’ risks, enhance their expected returns or bridge existing infrastructure gaps can help to catalyze the deal flow in the private sector bridging the missing-middle gap in Uganda. The Practitioner Lab Climate Finance catalyzes this process by drawing on experience and expertise from local champions to identify, prototype, and design the next generation of climate finance products. Those prototyped products will provide concrete solutions to challenges faced in climate finance, and can build new mechanisms, attract new investors, and help to increase the deal flow into projects and enterprises. The Practitioner Lab responds to the importance of the deal flow and missing middle challenge by prototyping project-ready solutions, complementing existing processes and by moving quickly from idea to action.

Brainstorming in four work streams, participants were guided by four Challenge hosts including : Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSD Uganda) , UNFCCC Regional Collaboration Centre,   Energy4Impact‎  and Swisscontact

The Practitioner Lab Climate Finance Uganda participants included leaders from investment institutions, banks, development finance institutions, foundations, governments, innovators and intermediaries. Specifically, participants comprised senior level financial experts, practitioners and business leaders. By drawing on the experience and expertise of local practitioners and experts the Lab is aiming at ensuring that the prototyped financial products address real-life financing challenges. Participants from organizations with a base in Uganda included the following: Anuel Energy, AFCI, Global Green Growth Institute, Financial Access, Makerere University School of Public Health-ResilientAfrica Network (RAN), Open Capital Advisory, Acces2Solar, Challenges Worldwide, GRS Commodities, Centenary Bank, Stanbic Bank, EACREEE, ECO, GIZ, CESI, Deloitte, Bank of Uganda, MTN and Enterprise Uganda among others.

This first Practitioner Lab Climate Finance helped to turn pressing challenges into prototype financial products. Ideas for prototype solutions on how to address challenges were mapped out in parallel groups. The highly-interactive lab provided an exclusive opportunity to design financial products in four parallel groups, giving the RAN team a chance to participate in and benefit from each of the groups. It focused on peer-learning between climate finance stakeholders to refine the prototyped financial product. Ideas consolidation process is currently ongoing, keep abreast with all updates for the actual potentially transformative products.