Investment bank RMB backs climate tech KOKO
Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), an African corporate and investment bank, has invested in climate technology startup KOKO as part of its carbon business growth project, which supports the expansion of sustainable energy and forest conservation across Africa.
KOKO, an emerging markets climate technology firm, is at the forefront of addressing the continent-wide energy transition to clean and contemporary fuels, according to RMB.
According to RMB, over 900 million people in Africa cook using harmful fuels, such as charcoal, directly contributing to millions of hectares of deforestation and over 600,000 fatalities from home air pollution each year, as well as generating greenhouse emissions on a scale comparable to the global aviation sector.
KOKO currently supplies bioethanol cooking fuel to over 1.1 million homes via a dense network of high-tech KOKO fuel ATMs, positioned in thousands of corner businesses throughout urban Kenya.
RMB's carbon finance lead, Phil Norton, comments: "As a pan-African investment bank, this deal fits well within our ambition to build a market-leading carbon trading and finance business operating across Africa, serving both existing and new clients."
According to Greg Murray, CEO and co-founder of KOKO, RMB has exhibited a significant belief in the potential to harness carbon in a way that affects the lives of African inhabitants.
He says: "We've been seeking an entrepreneurial banking partner who understands Africa, climate markets, and technology. We are pleased to enter into this long-term cooperation with RMB to help speed the spread of KOKO's platform across Africa."
Furthermore, Nigel Beck, head of sustainable finance and ESG Advisory at RMB, says: "Partnering with KOKO will help develop the African carbon market and will align closely with the Nairobi Declaration, Africa's recently communicated strategy on using carbon as a mechanism to help finance Africa's energy transition."
The Nairobi Declaration was issued at the conclusion of the Africa Climate Summit in Kenya in September of last year and is a key component of Africa's bargaining position at the COP28 climate summit.