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 • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries can generate significant growth and create jobs by seizing a potential $1.6 trillion market opportunity in clean technology.
• Latin America and Africa are among the largest markets for SMEs in clean technology with potential market sizes of $349 billion and $235 billion respectively. 
• SMEs are key drivers of job creation. Clean technology jobs compare favorably to jobs in other sectors, being on average more skilled, safer, and better paid. Countries must take key policy actions to fully realize this growth potential.


The Carbon Trust has worked with the World Bank Group to produce a new report that quantifies significant opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries to generate profits and create jobs by providing solutions to local climate challenges.

Much of the emphasis on climate change has been on urging countries to act to avoid environmental catastrophe. This new report, “Building Competitive Green Industries: the Climate and Clean Technology Opportunity for Developing Countries,” frames responding to climate change as an extraordinary economic opportunity, particularly in developing countries. The report, published by infoDev, a global innovation and entrepreneurship program in the Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, recommends actions by the public and private sectors to foster the growing market for SMEs in the clean technology sector.


Fostering home-grown clean-tech industries in developing countries can create a sustainable and wealth-producing sector of the economy. While simultaneously addressing such urgent development priorities as access to clean and affordable energy, clean water and climate-resilient agriculture.

Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Director for the World Bank’s Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness


In just the last decade, clean technology has emerged as a major global market. Over the next 10 years, an estimated $6.4 trillion will be invested in developing countries. Of the total market in developing countries, some $1.6 trillion will be accessible to SMEs,according to the report. China, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa are the top three markets in the developing world for SMEs in clean technology, with expected markets of $415 billion, $349 billion and $235 billion, respectively for sectors such as wastewater treatment, onshore wind, solar panels, electric vehicles, bioenergy, and small hydro.

To unlock this environmental and economic potential, more can be done to support green entrepreneurship. Clean technology SMEs face daunting challenges, particularly in accessing early and growth stage financing. Countries can help by creating targeted policy incentives to encourage their own clean technology sectors. The report provides policymakers with a range of practical instruments that help support SMEs in clean technology sectors such as innovative finance, entrepreneurship and business acceleration, market development, technology development, and the legal and regulatory framework. These policy considerations are illustrated through case studies of national programs in South Korea, India, Thailand, and Ethiopia.

The report highlights clean technology market opportunities that can have great social impact. In Kenya, for instance, the roughly 80% of the population not served by the electricity grid represents a vast market for new climate solutions. Local entrepreneurs and SMEs are deriving innovative solutions in solar and biogas technologies. This not only creates jobs and improves the environment but also provides new offerings for sustainable, off-grid electricity to the poorest 40% of the population.

Clean technology jobs compare favorably to jobs in other sectors, requiring more skill and delivering better pay and on-the-job safety. The move towards a lower carbon and more resource-efficient economy is expected to yield a double-dividend in terms of employment and environmental improvement.



 infoDev’s Climate Technology Program supports local climate and clean technology SMEs and startups through its targeted Climate  Innovation Centers (CICs). To date, the Kenya CIC has helped 83 small firms whose services have provided over 8200 persons access to safer water, have given almost 49,000 people access to low carbon energy sources and 59,675 tons of CO2 — the equivalent of the exhaust of almost 13,000 cars annually — have been mitigated.


Over the coming decade the deployment of clean technologies represents a huge opportunity for developing countries to reap substantial economic rewards – developing local industries and creating jobs and exports as well as positive environmental outcomes. Our analysis shows that SMEs have a key role to play in this and could access around a quarter of the $6 trillion market opportunity. We are already seeing real innovation from developing world SMEs in adapting products for local needs and developing new business models. Enabling and accelerating this should be a priority for policymakers at global and local levels.

James Rawlins, Associate Director at the Carbon Trust.


To download the full report visit:

To download the infographic visit:

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