Climate solutions not in handouts, lobby group calls for balanced trade


Anita Soina, a Climate Justice Advocate, Serah Makka, ONE Africa Executive Director and Dr John Asafu-Adjaye, Senior fellow, Africa Centre for Economic Transformation during media briefing at the start of the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi Kenya. [Courtesy]

A climate lobby group has called on African leaders to take advantage of the ongoing Africa Climate Summit and push for policies that will jumpstart the journey in building a more balanced trade and more resilient African economy.

The lobby under the umbrella of ONE Campaign said the summit provides an opportune time for all stakeholders to come on the table and discuss African climate solutions.

Serah Makka, the group’s Director for Africa said balanced trade will see donor governments deliver on their commitment to double adaptation finance and commit to a framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation that is needs-based and includes targets and or indicators while unblocking the barriers s through multilateral development banks.

“The key to unlocking the untapped potential of this continent is not handouts or second-hand solutions from rich nations. It’s removing the barriers that are standing in our way,” said Makka.

She said African countries possess the tools, talent and renewable resources to fuel their own growth and be at the vanguard of efforts to tackle climate change, poverty and inequality everywhere.

She wondered why the continent is being blocked by a broken global financial system that denies them access to the affordable finance needed to unleash this potential.

“No country must choose between improving the lives of their people and protecting the planet. If the rest of the world truly gets behind Africa they can help unleash a green economic revolution that will drive growth and prosperity across the continent and help the whole world to rise to the biggest shared challenges we face,” she said.

The lobby group said before the anticipated Nairobi Climate Declarations, stakeholders must be reminded that urgent action is mandatory to mitigate extreme effects in their discussions on escalating climate crises.

The Africa Climate Summit themed ‘Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World’ will also provide African leaders the platform to challenge narratives and perceptions of Africa being the constant docile recipient and showcase the continent’s strength and aptitude to take a leading role in the fight against climate change and nature loss.

Makka said African nations are among the most vulnerable to climate change effects and have significant natural assets that could provide global climate solutions.

Despite this, the continent receives a disproportionately small amount of global climate finance compared to other regions.

According to her, the estimated annual cost of Africa’s climate adaptation by 2050 is US$50 billion and the region has the world's highest potential for renewable energy.

Yet the continent currently receives US$19.5 billion per year in total climate finance and only 3% of global investment in clean energy.

“ONE is therefore calling on all leaders to use the Summit as a tool to elevate the following policy changes to start the journey in building a more balanced trade and more resilient African economy,” she said.

Makka said World Bank shareholders and donor governments should commit to tripling grants and loans from the IBRD and IDA, which could deliver an additional $1.2 trillion in finance by 2030.

Her sentiments were echoed by Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Africa Union Commissioner in charge of Agriculture, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment who said although Africa accounts for the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions, at just 3.8 percent, is the most vulnerable to climate change hazards.

He said ahead of COP28, Africa needs to negotiate not from a victim perspective, but from a solutions perspective. We need to work together as a continent. We have all the resources needed to mitigate climate change challenges.

According to Sacko, development partners need to also honor their promise made in the Paris agreement of investing $100 billion in mitigating Africa’s climate challenges.