New digital platform seeks to connect region’s business with climate opportunities
Climatech MEA, brainchild of two lawyers who met at State Comptroller’s office, looks to build network of climate change actors working in energy, water and food security
Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Two Israeli lawyers who met while working at the State Comptroller’s office have launched a digital platform that will pool information on all climate-related developments and opportunities of interest to the business communities of the Middle East and Africa.
Climatech MEA aims to promote regional cross-border and cross-sector collaborations involving governments, academia, NGOs, climate tech companies, businesses and corporations, investors, professional organizations, women and young entrepreneurs. The focus will be on energy, water and food security.
The content will feature everything from news, insights and research to information about projects, tenders, competitions, events and funding opportunities. It will also match service providers such as lawyers and accountants with companies and projects.
Sagi Einav said that after 15 years in the State Comptroller’s office he wanted to move from being an analyst to an actor in the field of climate, and realized that the best way to connect people was through opportunities that are economically worth their while.
The COVID-19 pandemic had put people in touch by computer. “You don’t need to travel anymore, and you don’t need to report on who you meet on Zoom,” Einav added. “You might not be able to shake hands online, but you can look the other person in the eye via Zoom.”
Partner Shiri Milo Locker, who helped build the environment unit at the State Comptroller’s office, said, “A key part of doing business in the Arab world is to build trust with those you’re going to do business with. It’s a way to create trust and personal relationships and even friendships.”
She went on: “We are at a rare moment of opportunity, with the coronavirus, the climate crisis, the regional economic crisis, and the windows opened by the Abraham accords (normalization agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco) and the Cypriot-lead regional climate action plan. The constellation is there for working together.”
Among the partners signed up so far is UNIDO, the United Nations agency charged with promoting and accelerating sustainable industrial and economic development.
The free-to-use site, up for just a month and currently in English, will be translated into Arabic and Hebrew. Its two founders are still discussing how best to bring on more strategic and financial partners.