As the curtains came down at the Africa Climate Summit (ACS23), heads of state and government adopted the Nairobi Declaration, calling on world leaders to back global taxes to fund climate action and pursue financial reforms to help African countries.
The summit convened in Kenya gathering leaders, ministers, and civil society representing countries from across Africa in the effort to respond to the climate crisis. With 1.3 billion people as of 2018, Africa accounts for about 16% of the world’s human population.
The Nairobi declaration will serve as a basis for Africa’s common position in the global climate change process and form the basis of negotiations at November’s COP28 summit. “The Nairobi declaration we make to the world today defines and amplifies the African position on the way forward in climate action, and the fundamentals that the international community must attend to in order to ensure that humanity’s economic and ecological imperatives are effectively, coherently, and sustainably achieved,” Kenya President and summit host William Ruto said on September 6, adding that the declaration marks the beginning of a new chapter in socio-economic transformation with a uniquely African perspective.
“We urge world leaders to rally behind the proposal for a global carbon taxation regime including a carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport, and aviation, that may also be augmented by a global financial transaction tax to provide dedicated, affordable, and accessible finance for climate-positive investments at scale,” the declaration read. “No country should ever have to choose between development aspirations and climate action.”
“There is definitely a need for urgent and sweeping changes to the global financial system,” Anisha Pemjee of The Diplomatic Society in Centurion, South Africa, told NE Global on September 8. “Africa has the capability, capacity, and indigenous knowledge to provide proactive solutions to climate change. The African voice will gather greater momentum at the G20 Summit taking place in Delhi where the African Union is likely to gain membership of the G20 group of countries,” said Pemjee, noting that although African emissions and contributions to climate change are minimal, Africa is prepared to take a progressive stance in mitigating the challenges of a changing climate.
#AfricaClimateSummit marks a monumental milestone as the Nairobi Declaration has been unanimously adopted with resounding acclamation! The collective commitment as different Heads of State and Goverments shines brightly focused on our vast potential and resources towards the… pic.twitter.com/rnv4KDWBnz
— Africa Climate Summit (@AfClimateSummit) September 8, 2023
At the opening of the Africa Climate Summit, Ambassador Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE) reiterated the need to collectively tackle the global crises of climate change by accelerating the implementation of the African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022 -2032).
The establishment of the Africa Climate Summit as a biennial event to be convened by the African Union and hosted by AU Member States, is yet another great milestone to set Africa’s new vision in addressing emerging global climate and development issues with one common position, she said.
Billions of dollars committed to green initiatives
During the summit, governments and private investors committed billions of dollars to green initiatives. US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and officials from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of Energy, and the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) also participated in the Africa Climate Summit.
Key announcements from this week’s summit included $30 million to Support Initiatives under the US President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) in Africa.
The US plans to provide an additional $20 million to the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI) Food Security Accelerator, which will dramatically speed and scale up private sector investments in climate resilient food security in Africa.
The US also intends to provide an additional $10 million to the Climate Resilience and Adaptation Finance and Technology Transfer Facility (CRAFT) Technical Assistance (TA) Facility, which will help to demonstrate and de-risk market opportunity for climate-resilient technologies and solutions that help manage risks to food security.
Funding through the DFC to expand access to renewable energy in Africa, included $100 million direct loan to Mirova SunFunder for the $500 million Mirova Gigaton Fund to support off-grid clean energy across the African continent. The fund will finance distributed clean energy projects to build climate-friendly solutions in response to increasing demand for energy in developing countries. The fund is expected to increase access to reliable and cost-effective off-grid solar energy for tens of millions of low-income people, predominantly in Sub-Saharan Africa, the US State Department said.
Turning to Africa Climate Summit host country Kenya, Kerry announced $4 million for the International Organization for Migration to support migrants, refugees, and host communities impacted by climate events in Kenya provided through the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). The Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years, affecting an estimated 36 million people, and displacing 2.3 million people.
Kenya recently ranked as the 31st most vulnerable country to the effects of climate change. Kenya’s Garissa and Turkana Counties are home to large pastoral communities that host thousands of refugees and migrants who have fled conflict and drought across the region. This $4 million contribution is dedicated to improving data on climate mobility and providing support in agricultural regions home to so many displaced persons. “As we face the growing impacts of the climate crisis, the United States remains committed to promoting ambitious approaches for confronting the climate crisis, and safe, orderly, humane migration management in Africa and around the world,” the State Department said.
Boosting renewables and green industry
Kenya’s President reportedly also launched a landmark partnership at the Africa Climate Summit with Denmark, Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to accelerate renewables, including green hydrogen, and green industry in Africa.
Sultan Al Jaber, who will preside over the COP28 summit in the UAE in late November, announced that the UAE has pledged $4.5 billion to help African nations accelerate clean-energy projects. UAE clean energy giant Masdar announced a partnership with Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform to identify, fast-track and scale clean energy projects across the continent. Ahead of COP28, the company committed to unlock 10 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy projects for millions of people across Africa by 2030.