Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge (WE4F) promoting local, sustainable, and innovative solutions for challenges in the water, energy, and agriculture sectors.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is subject to many challenges including water scarcity, environmental degradation, unemployment, conflicts and increased migration. Tackling issues in the water-energy-food nexus is imperative to achieve political and social stability, food security, and sustainable development.Although the region’s water-energy-food challenges are severe, they present an opportunity for local innovators to find solutions for the most pressing water and energy issues in food production and agriculture.
The MENA Regional Innovation Hub (MENA RIH) supports innovators that work in the region and produce more food while using less water and energy. Together with investors and partners, the MENA RIH works to scale mid-to-later stage enterprises that have an environmental and social impact in the water-energy-food nexus.Through WE4F, innovators from the MENA region can now access the financial support, technical support, and investment matching necessary to make food production and farming more sustainable, productive, and bountiful.Supported projects must fulfill strict environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, have positive effects on the environment, strive for gender equality and inclusion, and ensure secure access to food for all.
We currently work in nine countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The Regional Innovation Hub for MENA has its headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon. There are further country coordination offices in Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and PalestinianTerritories and we have partners all across the region. Innovators operating in the following countries are eligible to receive support from the WE4F MENAHub: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon,Morocco, The Palestinian Territories,Tunisia, Sudan, and Yemen.
By 2024, the MENA Regional Innovation Hub aims to:
- Identify and support at least 40 innovators across the MENA region
- Support innovators in reaching 750.000 smallholder farmers, of which 25% are women
- Help 300,000 smallholder farmers and other end-users – of which 25% are women – experience an increase inincome
- Secure more than US$ 7.5 million in additional funding
- Leverage innovations through targeted partnerships, advocacy and capacity building activities
The MENA RIH is ran by a team of locally-based implementing organisations; Berytech cewas, Chemonics Egypt and IWMI and with the support of experienced and dedicated governmental founding partners. The MENA RIH will offer a variety of programs and interventions for innovators, dedicated investors and partners, regional governmental institutions, international organisations, and the interested public.
WE4F ran its first call for innovation in 2020. The second call for applications has closed its doors on 25th November 2021. The hub supports 17 innovators across the MENA region.
WE4F is a joint international initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands, Sweden through the Swedish International DevelopmentCooperation Agency (Sida), and the U.S.Agency for International Development (USAID).