N4J in Africa: Growing from the Bottom Up

Over the past two years our Africa portfolio and pipeline of nature-based solutions (NbS) to climate change have grown significantly and our network of partners continues to expand. More importantly, all these initiatives are being developed through a co-creation process with our partners and local communities.

Project Scale

3 priority projects: in the advanced stages of design: We are working to develop, peatland, forest & thicket restoration, and management; and agroforestry projects;

  • 9 new projects in the pipeline: Including reforestation, REDD+, agroforestry and regenerative agriculture, and sustainable rangelands management that we’re doing due diligence on / helping proponents develop their concepts for, and,
  • 5 other projects we are doing pre-feasibility analysis: These are sustainable rangelands management, agroforestry and regenerative agriculture.
  • 2 new potential projects in Sierra Leone: Expanding into Sierra Leone and designing avoided deforestation and reforestation projects, including “Blue Carbon” projects in mangroves

Country-level Project Aggregation

We are working with a number of local partners at the country level to develop larger-scale, replicable models focusing on specific carbon credit methodologies:

  • Kenya: The MOU we signed with the Ministry of Environment and Climate in June 2023 has set the stage for multiple types of projects that are strongly endorsed by the Government of Kenya (GoK). The GoK has requested that initially we evaluate the opportunity for the restoration and management of degraded government gazetted forests.
  • Zambia: we are also negotiating a similar MOU with the Government of Zambia that will focus initially on establishing an NbS Accelerator Facility (i.e. a dedicated Trust Fund) to roll out and scale up NbS projects at scale in Zambia, in line with Zambia’s Green Growth targets.

It’s gratifying to see that now we have key staff in place – notably over the past year – we’ve been able to dramatically improve our ability to engage effectively with private, public and civil society partners to identify and develop a range of NbS opportunities.

We are now planning to expand our ability to use blended finance investments that combine philanthropic capital on the front end for pre-feasibility assessments and project development with private capital – offering competitive financial returns – once projects are investment-ready.

Project Quality and Integrity

As we do so, our focus will continue to be on project quality and integrity, with these attributes:

  • Fair and equitable benefit sharing between the investors and the local communities whose natural and human capital are the foundation for any NbS project;
  • Capacity development of our partners and local communities;
  • Co-benefit generation that is significant and durable for our partners and the local communities they support, such as protection of ecosystem services, job creation, alternative income generation, improved social services, and support for climate-smart and resilience natural resource and agricultural management; and,
  • Rigorous and credible carbon sequestration that meets the tests of additionality, permanence, and leakage.

Our view is that for NBS projects to provide true social justice they need to comply with Climate Justice Additionality.

Please contact us for more details and we welcome your thoughts.


  • Michael O'Brien-Onyeka

    N4J Executive VP - Global Partnerships: Michael brings a wealth of expertise and more than 25 years of experience to this position. Most recently, he was the Senior Vice President – Africa Field Division at Conservation International. In addition, Michael has held senior positions at Greenpeace Africa, Oxfam, the National Democratic Institute, the African Child Policy Forum, and Amnesty International.

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