Wednesday, February 21, 2024

African leaders commit to pursue green and inclusive growth-Nairobi Declaration

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African leaders ended the three-day Africa Climate Summit with a call to the global community to act with urgency in reducing emissions, honour a commitment to provide $100 billion in annual climate finance to developing countries, and swiftly operationalize the Loss and Damage facility agreed at last year’s COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

On their part, Africa leaders committed to developing and implementing policies, regulations and incentives aimed at attracting local, regional and global investment in green growth and inclusive economies.

In their African Leaders Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action, they undertook, among other aims, to:

  • Further accelerate the operationalisation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
  • Advance green industrialisation across the continent by prioritizing energy-intense industries to trigger a virtuous cycle of renewable energy deployment and economic activity, with a special emphasis on adding value to Africa’s natural endowments.
  • Redouble efforts to boost agricultural yields through sustainable agricultural practices, to enhance food security while minimizing negative environmental impacts.

This, the Declaration states, will require mobilizing more capital for both development and climate action, particularly adaptation. The leaders also called for the overhaul of the current global financial infrastructure, which they said does not meet the needs of developing countries.

In closing remarks, President William Ruto of Kenya stressed the continent’s rich endowments: Africa’s potential is “made up of incomparably young, resilient and motivated human capital, natural resource wealth and green energy potential.”

These qualities, he said, “would define the future of global opportunity for unprecedented prosperity and a new paradigm of industrialisation that respects the environment and supports our planet’s capacity to sustain biodiversity.”

The Nairobi declaration takes into consideration young Africans’ demand for a larger role in decision-making on climate action, as captured in a Youth Declaration produced just ahead of the Africa Climate Summit, and presented to President Ruto. The Youth Declaration also pushes for the accelerated establishment of a Global Green Bank and a New Global Financial Pact(link is external) that will prioritise young people and their interests in climate financing.

The Africa Climate Summit yielded important commitments in addition to the declaration. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the President-designate of COP28, announced a $4.5 billion initiative involving several UAE-based entities and Africa50(link is external) to develop 15 Gigawatts of clean power in Africa by 2030. The funding is projected to catalyse at least $12.5 billion in additional financing from multilateral public and private sources.

Special Envoy Kerry announced a new Biden administration commitment of $3 billion annually to support adaptation as part of the US PREPARE(link is external) initiative.

The African Development Bank Group’s President Dr Akinwumi Adesina announced a $1 billion facility to accelerate climate financing for Africa’s youth businesses.

In remarks to the assembled leaders, Dr. Adesina stressed that, “Africa must develop its own carbon markets, properly price its carbon, and turn its vast carbon sink into new sources of enormous wealth. Africa cannot be nature-rich and cash-poor.” He also said Africa needed to revalue its wealth by accounting for the proper value of its abundant natural resources, including its vast forests that sequester carbon.

Click here(link is external) for more information about the Africa Climate Summit, which ran from 4-6 September 2023.

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