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Africa Climate Summit Opens in Nairobi :: Uganda Radionetwork

Africa Climate Summit Opens in Nairobi

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The organizers hope that this time around, they will come up with strategies for attracting climate finance to Africa rather than present Africa as a victim of floods, drought, and famine.
President William Samoi Ruto. He said Africa can power the entire world using its abundant renewable energy resources.

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Kenyan President William Samoi Ruto has called on global leaders to work towards addressing loss and damage resulting from climate change

President Ruto, who is also the Chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State and Governments on climate chnage made the call on Monday at the opening of the first Africa Climate Summit in Kenya.  

“Let’s be clear, these conversations are necessary, Africa’s carbon footprint remains small. But the human toll of climate change is disproportionately high,” he said. 

He said there is a need to configure the appropriate financial mechanism for resilience growth for each extreme climatic event.  

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The three-day summit in Nairobi is being attended by ministers and participants from the 54 countries in Africa.   

The organizers hope that this time around, they will come up with strategies for attracting climate finance to Africa rather than present Africa as a victim of floods, drought, and famine.

President Ruto said Africa can power the entire world using its abundant renewable Energy resources. “The continent has enough potential to be entirely self-sufficient with the mixture of solar, wind geothermal, sustainable biomass, and hydropower. In Africa, we can be a green industrial hub that helps other regions to achieve their net zero strategies by 2050”

He revealed that the summit aims to unite Africans across neighborhoods, sectors, local and institutions, and country borders.  

“It is because we all have a shared stake in the earth’s ability to sustain life. We must envision together a future that embraces the values of equality, human security and shared prosperity” Ruto told the summit. 

About twenty presidents and heads of government will attend the summit that ends on Wednesday. 

According to Ruto, Africa possesses all the necessary conditions to realize the future.  

“Our foremost asset is our young and growing young people and workforce. Educated, skilled, and motivated to pursue industry, innovation and enterprise”  

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The Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC), Simon Steill said development should be a priority but said climate disasters can wreck years of development. He noted that it is a global responsibility to work out how to minimize climate-related disasters and climate change itself. 

But he pointed out that climate action like anything else costs money. 

“We must address climate finance. Finance should be viewed in the context of mitigation and adaptation. In addition to all other things;” he said 

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The first-ever Africa Climate Summit comes at a time of great uncertainty not just in Africa but the world over. 

From soaring inflation, deepening polarization widening inequalities, the ranging Russian war in Ukraine and the rising debt crisis, and then the climate change bubble being felt in each and every continent.

Some disturbing statistics related to climate change disasters were shared as delegates settled for the opening of the summit.

She said over 17 million people have been affected by storms, landslides, floods, and wildfires annually. She added that more than seven million people in Africa have been displaced by natural disasters and that more than 145 million people don’t have enough to eat.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Soipan Tuya said climate change has entered what she described as a new era. 

She said countries need to look at the impact of climate change on their economies which are heavily dependent on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture.       

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Other sectors in that category include energy, tourism, forestry, and fisheries. She warned that if countries don’t develop adequate response measures to deal with the climate change crisis, it will crush all of them together.

Mithika Mwenda, the Co-Founder, and Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance(PACJA) used the occasion to call on developed countries to provide compensation to African countries. 

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Mwenda said Africa needs between $140-$340 billion by 2030 for adaptation to climate change. 

He however observed that the continent is receiving less than $16 billion annually in adaptation financing. 

At such meetings, negotiators like Mwenda insist that Africa has contributed to less than 4% of global warming but has suffered most from climate disasters. 

The Africa Climate Summit provides an opportunity for African leaders to come up with the Nairobi Declaration on Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions.        

It will enable African countries to define detailed plans, shape their associated tools and investments, inform and push for reforms of the international financial architecture.       

They are expected to share innovation, knowledge, experience, and practical approaches to deepen and expand understanding of climate challenges and opportunities, and enable Africa to renew its vision and become more assertive in pursuing a climate and development agenda through a unified approach.            

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