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Monday, December 4, 2023

Africa Climate Summit: Activists, frontline communities call for genuine climate leadership

As the Africa Climate Summit begins in Nairobi this week, grassroots groups and climate activists from across the continent will be holding African leaders to account to deliver concrete climate action and plans to address the continent’s pressing needs.

Africa Climate Summit
President William Ruto of Kenya at the opening

It has been estimated that the African continent loses up to 15% of its GDP per capita annually due to the impacts of climate change.

But Africa is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world and the continent also has vast potential for renewable energy growth.

However, it is clear that finance is vital for Africa to sustain long-term economic growth and for the continent to transition out of a fossil fuel economy and into renewable growth.

“We are calling on African governments to prioritise the needs of the African people and deliver adequate measures to address the climate crisis, energy poverty and interlinked challenges.

“African nations need to prioritise green renewable energy targets rooted in justice over fossil fuels and false solutions and push for substantial global investments to support the clean energy transition in Africa,” said Charity Migwi, Regional Campaigner, 350Africa.org.

Climate activists are also appealing to African leaders to hold developing nations historically responsible for the climate crisis accountable to scale up financing for robust mitigation and adaptation measures.

Estimates indicate a significant shortfall of climate financing that flows into Africa as compared to the financing needs of the continent to achieve its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa needs $1.6 trillion between 2022 and 2030 to achieve its NDCs, however, the total financing flows in 2020 for Africa amounted to only $30 billion.

“As Africans, we need to plant seeds of change that ignite a green legacy for generations to come, that alleviates energy poverty while addressing the climate crisis. It is crucial that we address the key barriers facing renewable energy in Africa and facilitate the widespread deployment of renewable energy rooted in justice.

“The summit offers a chance for African nations to jointly devise measures to bolster clean energy goals across the region and set the stage for ambitious global renewable energy targets,” said Patricia Bekoe, climate activist with 350 Ghana.

Ahead of other regional climate summits and the COP 28 UN climate talks, the Africa Climate Summit is seen as an opportunity for Africa to offer leadership and set the stage for climate action that prioritises the communities at the frontlines of the climate crisis, more so on the most climate-vulnerable continent – Africa.

“The African Climate Summit could provide the platform needed for the continent to dramatically shift its trajectory and future – from one that is set to bear the brunt of climate collapse, to one of energy-security and prosperity driven by decentralised and people-centred renewables.

“Going into this Summit, we are calling on African leaders to embrace the interests and will of the people and in doing so, we would expect them to throw their weight behind renewables and push for the redirection of financing to renewable energy,” said Zaki Mamdoo, Climate activist and Coordinator of Stop EACOP Coalition.

By Kofi Adu Domfeh

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