Trillion-pound potential for cleantech SMEs

There is a potential £1tn market for clean-technology SMEs in developing nations, according to a report by the World Bank Group and the Carbon Trust.

Entitled ‘Building Competitive Green Industries: the Climate and Clean Technology Opportunity for Developing Countries’, the report identifies China, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa as the top three target areas with an expected market size of £253bn, $213bn and $143bn respectively. (Scroll down to download full report).

The most promising opportunities are predicted to be in wastewater treatment, onshore wind, solar panels, electric vehicles, and small hydro.

Opportunities are reportedly available for SMEs across the entire cleantech value chain, and are particularly prevalent in minor equipment manufacture, installation, civil works, retailing, and operations and maintenance activities.

Knowledge of local markets, the need for specialisation, and lower financial and technical barriers to entry makes these activities especially accessible to SMEs.


In Kenya, for instance, the 80% of the population not served by the electricity grid represent a vast market for new climate and clean technology solutions. Local entrepreneurs and SMEs are deriving innovative solutions in solar and biogas technologies.

Carbon Trust associate director James Rawlins said: “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.”

Download the full report – Building Competitive Green Industries: the Climate and Clean Technology Opportunity for Developing Countries – for free here.

INFOGRAPHIC: The $6.4tn cleantech market in developing countries


Brad Allen

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