recently had the opportunity to speak with Nick Ndiritu, Managing Partner at Olduvai Capital, a boutique investment firm and new fund manager whose Olduvai Africa Climate Action Fund recently secured it a spot in the Luxembourg-based International Climate Finance Accelerator's (ICFA) 2022 Cohort.

This article follows on from previous interviews with two other ICFA 2022 Cohort members, Katapult and Sustainable Links; interviews with the remaining two winners (Energy Peace Partners and Incofin - Honorary Cohort Member) are set to follow. Could you please briefly introduce yourself and Olduvai Capital?
Nick Ndiritu: Olduvai Capital is an Africa-based investment team helping shape a more prosperous, inclusive and carbon-neutral future. Africa's dual challenge is reducing carbon emissions while scaling access to affordable and reliable energy in a region with sizeable unmet needs. However, access to climate financing is a crucial obstacle. We are seeking to accelerate investments to facilitate Africa's energy transition. How did you learn about the ICFA and why did you apply for the ICFA programme?
Nick Ndiritu: We are firm believers in building partnerships to tackle the global climate crisis. We heard about the ICFA programme through our professional networks. For us, the Luxembourg ICFA programme offers a compelling proposition as an accelerator to emerging fund managers specifically focused on climate finance. How has this programme helped Olduvai Capital to further its goal? What kind of support did you receive from the ICFA?
Nick Ndiritu: We are in the early stages of our partnership with ICFA, having secured the award in July 2022 after a highly competitive selection process. Aside from the financial support, the knowledge transfer and networking benefits are already evident. We have already participated in training sessions organised by ICFA, leveraging a vast knowledge base of industry experts across Luxembourg's climate finance ecosystem, and worked with the ICFA team to identify our needs and further strengthen our market positioning. Olduvai Capital has extensive experience investing across Africa's capital markets. Could you please tell us more about in which capital markets you are active, in addition to South Africa?
Nick Ndiritu: Our Africa-based team has an average of eighteen years of investment experience and has managed over $1.5 billion in institutional capital across Africa's debt and equity markets. The team has invested in sub-Saharan Africa as well as North Africa. Could you please tell us about some investments already made in terms of Africa's climate change mitigation and adaptation?
Nick Ndiritu: Our team has made prior investments in East Africa across solar power producers and integrated power distributors. Did you receive any support from local governments?
Nick Ndiritu: No, we have not received any support from local governments. What are the selection criteria for projects and initiatives financially supported by Olduvai Capital?
Nick Ndiritu: The core of our investment process is applying a risk-return-impact lens in evaluating all investment opportunities. We consider the country and regulatory risk factors, analyse prospective cash flows and have a rigorous framework to quantify climate action impact metrics. Olduvai Capital wishes to primarily invest across the energy transition spectrum in Africa, including renewables, power grids, energy efficiency and green hydrogen opportunities. Could you please elaborate on the reasons why this is important to Olduvai Capital?
Nick Ndiritu: Investments in renewables often get the most attention, but this is only a part of the investment opportunity to accelerate Africa's energy transition. The continent requires significant investments to upgrade its ageing power grids and extend power transmission networks to meet the electricity needs of the world's fastest-growing population. Africa also has vast potential to tap its abundant solar and wind resources to produce and export green hydrogen. How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect Olduvai Capital in terms of its fundraising and distribution efforts?
Nick Ndiritu: The COVID-19 pandemic inevitably slowed economic activity and risk appetite across the region. However, we are now seeing a resurgence in investor interest in tackling Africa's energy deficit while mitigating climate change. What have been the main challenges so far in terms of investments which include senior debt, project bonds, structured credit, asset-backed and hybrid securities?
Nick Ndiritu: We have not yet encountered any key challenges in terms of investments. What are Olduvai Capital's next major goals in terms of SDGs and carbon-neutral investments?
Nick Ndiritu: Our medium-term goal is to avert over one million tonnes of CO2 emissions through our energy transition investments. We believe in setting measurable targets and being held accountable for doing our part to mitigate climate change.