Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge: Launch of the MENA Regional Innovation Hub

Posted on September 28, 2020

The MENA RIH supports innovators that work in the region and produce more food while using less water and energy.”

Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge (WE4F) was recently launched in the Middle East and North Africa to promote local, sustainable, and innovative solutions for challenges in the water, energy, and agriculture sectors.

The Middle East and North Africa Regional Innovation Hub (MENA RIH) is proud to announce its launch. The MENA RIH is run by a team of locally based implementing organizations and with the support of experienced and dedicated governmental founding partners. The MENA RIH will offer a variety of programs and interventions for innovators, dedicated investors and partners, regional governmental institutions, international organizations, and the interested public.

The MENA region is subject to many challenges including water scarcity, environmental degradation, unemployment, conflicts and increased migration. Tackling issues in the water-energy-food nexus is imperative to achieve political and social stability, gender equality and inclusion, food security, and sustainable development. The MENA RIH supports innovators that work in the region and produce more food while using less water and energy. Together with investors and other partners, the MENA RIH works to scale mid-to-late stage enterprises that have an environmental and social impact in the water-energy- food nexus. Based in Beirut, Lebanon, the MENA RIH supports innovators in the following countries and territories: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, The Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Sudan, and Yemen.

The MENA RIH is firmly embedded in the global WE4F framework and joins a range of other Regional Innovation Hubs hailing from West Africa, East Africa and South and South East Asia. As a cornerstone to its work, the MENA RIH aims to develop relationships with potential partners, investors, and innovators to explore opportunities for collaboration. Examples of such opportunities include: technical assistance and investment options; de-risking of investments through grants, soft loans, and other tailored financial instruments; and the joint creation of a supportive enabling environment.

Who we are

The MENA RIH is a consortium of locally rooted organizations, with long histories of working with each other and countless partners towards a more sustainable Middle East and North Africa.

The consortium is led by Berytech, Lebanon’s leading entrepreneurship support organization that has supported more than 3800 innovative entrepreneurs since 2002 with a strong focus on agritech and cleantech innovations and expertise in fund management and funding social scalable enterprises and innovative enterprises.

Chemonics Egypt (CE), with offices in Egypt and projects across MENA, brings in strong expertise in energy, agriculture, water and has supported over 1,000 entrepreneurs at the idea stage and 100 growing businesses in the water-food-energy nexus since 1992. CE also supports large firms, governments and international organizations in the sectors of focus above.

cewas is the planet’s first dedicated organization specifically supporting water nexus entrepreneurs with an impact focus. Although operating on a global level, the Middle East is cewas’ most important regional program with long-term entrepreneurship and ecosystem development programs and local staff in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine since 2013.

Finally, IWMI has global presence and a regional office in Egypt and brings in a longstanding expertise in policy, advocacy and research on the use of water in agriculture and other related water- energy-food nexus matters as well as ample of experience with smallholder farmers, social inclusion and resource sustainability.


WE4F is a joint international initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands, Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

To learn more visit we4f.org/mena and follow WE4F on Twitter @WE4FGCD.