African leaders are seeking to unify their voices to promote green growth

Nairobi (AFP) – The first African climate summit concludes on Wednesday after three days of discussions aimed at promoting green growth and building a common narrative on the continent for climate negotiations.

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The meeting in Nairobi brings together heads of state and government and businessmen and seeks to raise funding for environmental projects so that the region can develop while combating climate change.

Kenyan President William Ruto urged his counterparts to take advantage of the “unparalleled opportunity” available to African countries to benefit economically from the development of clean energy and participate in the fight against global warming, of which Kenya is one of the main victims.

The final declaration, which will be issued on Wednesday afternoon, could include a call to the international community to help achieve this goal through investments and debt relief on the continent.

It could also contain a reminder to rich and polluting countries of their climate finance promises.

Many experts believe that success in building a common vision on green development in Africa would give momentum to many upcoming international meetings.

But reaching consensus on a continent of 1.4 billion people and 54 politically and economically diverse countries is not easy. Some governments support betting on a future powered by renewable energy, while other governments rely on their fossil fuel resources.

“African miracle”

William Ruto said on Tuesday that the continent’s leaders envision “a future in which Africa finally enters the scene as an economic and industrial powerhouse, and an effective and positive player on the global stage.”

Participants at the African Climate Summit September 4, 2023 in Nairobi © Louis Tatou / AFP

With a young population and abundant natural resources, Africa can help build an alternative to polluting fossil fuels.

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In addition to the natural potential for direct generation of clean energy (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.), the continent is also home to 40% of the world’s reserves of cobalt, manganese and platinum, essential for batteries and fuel cells. of hydrogen.

Despite this, only 3% of global energy investments are made there.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the world to make Africa a “renewable energy superpower.”

He estimated that “renewable energies could be the African (economic) miracle.”

The UAE pledged to invest $4.5 billion in clean energy in Africa. This country will host the next United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai in November.

In a report issued on Wednesday, the International Energy Agency and the African Development Bank urged donors and international institutions to increase tenfold their “concessional financing,” that is, at preferential rates, to encourage private investment in the energy sector.

System repair

The challenges remain enormous on a continent where 500 million people do not have access to electricity.

African countries are also paralyzed by their growing debt burden and lack of financing.

Many of the continent’s leaders, but also António Guterres and Sultan Al Jaber of the UAE, called on Tuesday for reform of the international financial system – an “outdated, unfair and dysfunctional” system, according to the UN Secretary-General – to adapt it to the world. Requirements to combat global warming.

Globally, rich countries have yet to meet their commitment to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance to poor countries by 2020.

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