Africa is acutely vulnerable to the growing impacts of climate change, yet Kenyan President William Ruto has fought for a narrative shift at the Nairobi conference, focusing on accelerating the region’s clean energy transition.
The landmark African climate summit was due to wrap up on Wednesday after attracting $23 billion in funding pledges as leaders sought to forge a united front and highlight the continent’s potential as a green powerhouse.
“A new Africa is there, and it means business,” Ruto said, adding that the summit had seen funding pledges worth $23 billion “for green growth, mitigation, and adaptation efforts” across the continent.
However, Leaders will also demand that rich carbon polluters honor long-standing climate pledges for poorer nations.
Analysts say a united African voice could generate momentum for a series of key gatherings leading to a crunch UN climate summit starting in November, including the G20 meeting in New Delhi this weekend.
But consensus is challenging across the diverse continent of 1.4 billion people, where some governments are championing a renewable-powered future while others defend their reserves of fossil fuels.
Competing visions of the world’s energy future are likely to play out at the COP28 talks in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, where the world will take stock of the as-yet-inadequate efforts to slash planet-heating emissions.
Ruto said the summit had “successfully demonstrated that African solutions are not just appropriate for Africa’s problems; they are necessary for global well-being”.
He said earlier that Africa is well placed to take advantage of the need to move away from carbon-spewing fossil fuels, boasting a young population, vast renewable potential, and natural resources.
This includes around 40 percent of global reserves of cobalt, manganese, and platinum, which are crucial for batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.
In conclusion, Kenya has become a leader in renewables, pledging that they will make up 100 percent of its electricity mix by 2030.
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