Africa Climate Summit adopts Nairobi Declaration

President William Ruto alongside African leaders during the closing of the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi on Wednesday, September 6, 2023. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The Africa Climate Summit concluded on Wednesday, August 6, with the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration.

The declaration encompasses issues raised by various stakeholders including civil society, ministerial response, children, parliamentarians, and indigenous people.

The summit, which was hosted by Kenya and co-chaired by the African Union and the Commonwealth, brought together leaders from several African countries, as well as representatives from multilateral banks, philanthropists, and the private sector.

The summit adopted the Nairobi Declaration unanimously and by acclamation, which outlines a common position and vision for Africa’s green growth and climate resilience.

President William Ruto said the declaration was anchored on Africa’s potential to decarbonise its economy and harness its renewable energy resources.

“Our shared understanding became clear at the summit. We are the last frontier of untapped potential with young men and women skilled and educated who are ready to unlock the green energy potentials,” said Ruto.

He called for a just multilateral finance architecture that would support Africa’s climate ambitions and address the historical injustices that have placed African nations on the back foot.

“We have made it clear that we are aware of unjust happenings that deny us resources to mitigate and adapt. The international community must walk with us. We are determined to have difficult conversations, take hard decisions, and take a clear path to the African future,” he said.

The Head of State emphasised the role of the youth in driving the climate agenda, saying their voice was essential for the success of the journey.

“Our message will not be clear if the voice of youth is missing. Our journey will be long and in vain if the youth are not coming with us. Let’s tell the world of African youth potential,” he said.

Among the leaders who attended the summit were Sahle-Work Zewde (Ethiopia), Idriss Déby (Chad), Julius Maada Bio (Sierra Leone), Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Djibout), Salva Kiir (South Sudan), Isaias Afwerki (Eritrea), Hage Geingob (Namibia) and Félix Tshisekedi (DRC) and João Lourenço (Angola).

Former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire of Somalia were also present.

The summit also witnessed substantial commitments totaling a remarkable Sh3.4 trillion ($23 billion) for green growth, mitigation, and adaptation efforts across Africa.

Some of the notable highlights include: A transformative partnership investing Sh8.7 billion ($60 million) over two years in expanding grid access in rural Burundi.

A Sh654 billion ($4.5 billion) commitment from the United Arab Emirates to boost renewable energy.

Substantial contributions from European nations, and significant investments from private sector entities like Masdar, PowerGen, Leapfrog, Cross Boundary and Husk Power, emphasising renewable energy initiatives.

The signing of Kenya’s Green Hydrogen Strategy with the European Union, which is expected to drive and accelerate green manufacturing and create thousands of new, high value jobs in addition to attracting large private investment.

A notable increase in adaptation financing, reflecting a deep commitment to Africa’s sustainable future and energy systems.

ACS also endorsed the establishment of an African Climate Commission to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Nairobi Declaration and other climate actions across the continent.

The commission will be chaired by President Ruto and co-chaired by Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, and Patricia Scotland, the secretary-general of the Commonwealth.

The leaders agreed to use every available opportunity in the busy multilateral calendar, from the G20 meeting, the United Nations General Assembly in a fortnight, the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund soon thereafter to advance their common position and vision for Africa’s climate agenda.