This session was a conversation with inspiring entrepreneurs from Uganda and Cameroon. It showcased responsible sourcing practices and the commercialisation of their innovations in low-carbon building materials. In Uganda, the enterprise had successfully collaborated with a Belgium-based lab, supported by Horizon 2020 to develop low-carbon cement and is piloting its commercial production. In Cameroon, the social enterprise's mission has another dimension – to help deal with violent conflict inflicted by the Boko Haram insurgency in the Far North Region. The enterprise builds schools, health centres and training centres with low-carbon materials, rebuilding lives and creating jobs for youth. The enterprises such as these - in mining and mineral processing - have been supported by the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme to grow their businesses while contributing to environmental sustainability and creating social public goods.
Innovations in raw materials can contribute to climate action by providing the materials necessary for the green transition, for fertilisers to improve crop growth and to build flood defences. An ‘eco-concrete’ social enterprise in Uganda which has developed a low carbon, cheaper alternative to concrete was presented during the session. Moreover, the panel heard that when Europe shares its technologies with Africa it can decrease the costs of production, with calls made for a vision of Africa that owns its own knowledge and technologies.