African Heads of State and Government have agreed to lead the way in finding sustainable solutions to the climate crisis.
The leaders observed that climate change and Africa’s development are tightly tied and cannot be ignored.
They expressed their intention to collaborate with developed nations while also reminding them of their climate action commitments.
They made the remarks on Tuesday during the Africa Climate Summit at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, led by President William Ruto.
They were Samia Suluhu (Tanzania), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Évariste Ndayishimiye (Burundi), Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique), Salva Kiir (South Sudan), Sassou Nguesso (Congo), Mostafa Madbouly (Egypt), Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana), Mohamed Younis Menfi (Libya), Julius Maada (Sierra Leone), Sahle-Work Zewde (Ethiopia), Brahim Ghali (Sahrawi), Azali Assoumani (Comoros), Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Djibouti), Isaias Afwerki (Eritrea) and Macky Sall (Senegal).
President Ruto said Africa has made a conscious decision to be at the core of the solution to the climate change problem.
He said overcoming the challenge will require concerted efforts from all players and nations.
“We cannot pursue climate action through insular, solitary policies. Global warming cannot be mitigated by air-conditioning our little pockets and corners of the world.”
President Kagame said it was time to take decisive actions aimed at curtailing climate change.
He emphasised that playing the blame game is not the answer.
“The more pragmatic approach is for Africa to be a central player in the search for global climate solutions,” he said.
President Suluhu said Africans must seize the moment and capitalise on its potential to offer solutions to green growth and decarbonization.
“We can no longer afford to address economic development, climate change and African poverty in isolation,” she explained.
President Akufo Addo said there was a need to take radical action to tame climate change in the continent.
“It is obvious that we have to act swiftly and decisively to mitigate these effects and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come,” he said.
On his part, President Afwerki said it is time for Africa to mobilise its own resources instead of relying on handouts.
Meanwhile, President Zewde called on Africa to always take a common position on issues affecting the people, citing climate change.
She was supported by President Kiir who said that Africa must utilise its vast renewable energy resources to reverse the effects of climate change.
President Akufo Addo called for the streamlining of access to international climate finance to complement national funding.
At the same time, President Ruto called for a more equitable international financial system to lessen Africa’s debt burden.
He said that a just financial framework would promote economic stability and help address the climate change crisis.
The Head os State noted that Africa, despite being a mild contributor to pollution, is experiencing the most severe impacts of global warming.
He highlighted instances where African nations, such as Kenya, have had to divert funds from development to deal with the effects of climate change.
“Many of our countries are headed into debt distress because of climate change; we are suffering the most,” he said.
The President regretted that Africa has been unjustly tagged as a high-risk zone even though its valuable assets have not been accurately accounted for.
President Ruto called for a paradigm shift in the allocation of global climate change funds.
He said that in the past, these funds often went to those who did not require them, neglecting genuine cases.
“There is a need to have a conversation about a carbon tax to raise resources to finance Africa’s development.”
He insisted that Africa will cease the various green opportunities presented by global climate change action plans.
President Ruto also presided over the launch of the Green Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap for Kenya.
Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Secretary-General, United Nations António Guterres and the African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina were also present.
On her part, Ms Leyen said that the Africa Climate Summit has set the stage for COP28, amplifying African voices globally and ensuring that Africa’s needs are duly acknowledged and addressed.
She said a win-win outcome can only be guaranteed if all nations come together for a common goal.
“If Africa loses we all lose, if Africa wins we all win,” said Dr Sultan.
Mr Madbouly said that Africa’s access to climate action financing is pivotal for the success of the climate change action plan.