My journey at the DBSA is a learning curve


High level GCF project pipeline flowchart.

On Tuesday, I attended a GCF and GEF projects pipeline workshop, at DBSA. The workshop was absolutely informative. I learnt about the whole project pipeline from the request of project proposals, transitioning projects from pre-feasibility state to bankability, sending them to the GCF/GEF secretariat for inputs and then the GEF/GCF board/council makes the final decision on funding. Amongst other things, the following components of the projects pipeline were scrutinized:

  • The status of each of the projects in the pipeline – including project implementation stages and implementation plans.
  • Any project implementation issues
  • Contractual / financing arrangements.
  • Environmental and social safeguards assessments
  • Gender action plans
  • Monitoring and evaluation considerations
  • Monitoring and evaluation and reporting.
  • Roles and responsibilities.

Moreover, what was interesting was that GCF and GEF has an advisory panel who gives inputs on projects, after reviewing them. And also after submitting the concept notes to the GEF, which is a summary of a proposal, the GEF gives funding which is called the Project Preparation Grant. This type of funding assist project developers financially, to cover costs that are incurred when transitioning projects to a technically, financial and sustainable sound state.

July has been a busy month!

Me and my colleague, discussing some of the scenarios
Workshop attendees
Professor Susan Booysen, MISTRA’s director of research, giving a welcoming speech.


I finalized designing the survey and distributed it last week, to 24 DFIs which are accredited to implement projects (funding project preparation and construction of programmes and projects) on behalf of GEF/GCF and or Adaptation Fund. I am hoping for a high response rate after 3 weeks and I can start analyzing the results. Moreover, I submitted the 1st and 2nd chapter of my dissertation last week.

Last week I also had a chance to attend the GEF workshop in Durban, where projects that the eThekwini municipality/City of Durban is currently working on were presented. The projects which were presented have a potential to be funded by the GEF, under the GEF’s Sustainable Cities Programme, read more about the programme here The programme aims to address environmental degradation in large cities located in developing countries. Drivers of climate change, such as urbanization, high population growth/migration, high consumption of energy etc., usually occur in cities. Therefore, GEF sees cities having the potential to be drivers of green economic development and climate resilient communities.

On the 12th of July I attended another workshop conducted by MISTRA, “Transition to low carbon economy scenarios”. Different low carbon scenarios were presented and discussed. What was really interesting was that South Africa has to simultaneously address climate change and the usually neglected development issues such as unemployment and unsecured land tenure. Furthermore, it was discussed how mining waste affects poor communities downstream. Astonishingly, mines are one of the main sources of income for poor households in rural areas. Mines create job opportunities, for people without skills that are in demand in the job market. The main question was where will mine workers work if mining activity is ceased. Even though some of them can go to farming, most of them will struggle to find jobs because South Africa already has an unemployment rate of 26.6%.

In the meantime, I am waiting  for responses from DFIs and gathering literature which I will use to discuss my research findings.

DBSA in Madiba’s legacy.

Me and my colleagues packing food parcels
DBSA choir rendering a special song.








In the spirit of the Mandela Month (July), DBSA decided to tackle the 2nd Sustainable Development Goal “Zero Hunger”. Staff members and children who are over 12 devoted 67 minutes of their time, to help with packing food parcels which will be donated. Last year, DBSA reached a target of 75 0000 meal packages. However, this year, the bank is being more ambitious, setting the target to 100 000 meal packages. The DBSA choir also rendered a special item in memory of Tata Mandela.

It is in our hands now to make the world a better place”. We dare not fail.

-Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Project Proposal Presentations

DBSA board room

In the mist of my hectic schedule, doing corrections for my research proposal and finalising my literature review. Yesterday, I got an opportunity to attend the ‘Green Fund Management Committee for Funding’ meeting, which was held at DBSA. The meeting was chaired by the Director General of Department of Environmental Affairs. The DBSA Climate Finance Unit, the team that I am doing my masters internship with, was presenting project proposals that aim to address the impact of climate change in South Africa. The meeting was informative, it was evident to me that many local stakeholders in South Africa, are keen about combating climate change. Most of the projects were based on mitigation actions, particularly green energy some were about water treatment facilities and waste material recovery facilities. Climate finance is  definitely helping South Africa to play a role in the global climate action arena.

DBSA at a global arena in terms of financial support to climate resilient economy and development


DBSA receives various funding from international donors such as;  European Union, KFW, Infrastructure Investment Programme for South Africa (IIPSA), Global Environment Facility (GEF), Green Environmental Fund (GCF) and other project preparation facilities. GEF and GCF provides funding for climate orientated projects, which benefit the public. The bank provides support to the SADC region and other priority countries outside the SADC region, through financial support in the form of grants, loans and equity.

Each country that receives funds from GEF and GCF, through DBSA has a focal point, which is usually a government entity, to ensure that projects funded are in line with the national strategy priorities.  In 2014, DBSA was accredited as a National Project Agency (NPA) for the Global Environment Facility (GEF), furthermore the bank is one of the 54 entities accredited to the GCF. The bank seeks resources from the GEF Council and GCF to fund climate projects, some projects funded still need to be prepared and be transitioned into projects which can be implemented, and some can be funded during the development and  implementation phases.

Parties who need funding can submit proposals, during the calling periods. Most of the projects which have been funded are based on renewable energy and the bank also funds ICT, water and transport projects under GCF finance mechanism.

First day at DBSA!


Finally started my research placement, at DBSA today! I received a warm welcome from the staff and they helped me to settle in. I’m looking forward to meeting my supervisor on Monday and discussing more details about my project… My colleagues have a different range of academic and cultural backgrounds, my internship at DBSA will definitely be a leaning journey.

‘Global Hunger Today’ Conference

Me with my two MSc CCAFS colleagues and Michael Fitzgibbon from UCC


Today I had an opportunity to attend the global hunger conference in UCC. I met some of my sponsors and heard about the wonderful work they are doing in Africa, in terms of Aid. The conference was mainly focused on achieving the second sustainable development goal, ‘Zero Hunger’.  To achieve the second sustainable goal, Africa and other South Asian countries, should use a holistic approach to combat malnutrition, which focuses beyond increasing production. The approach should focus on several issues such as, raising household incomes, investing in maternal education, improving sanitation and improving maternal and child health. Furthermore, funding initiatives should be monitored through impact assessments at a local level, to ensure that funding aid and other development systems reach poor communities.