African Leaders Commit $23 Billion for Green Growth in Nairobi Declaration
African leaders acknowledged the Nairobi Declaration as part of their commitment to decarbonize the global economy for equity and shared prosperity.
Nairobi, Kenya – African political and business leaders gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, for three days of intensive deliberations on the profound consequences of climate change both on the continent and globally, writes Baboloki Semele.
Following these discussions, they have jointly adopted the "Nairobi Declaration," a groundbreaking commitment to raise $23 billion to support green growth, mitigation, and adaptation efforts aimed at addressing climate challenges in Africa.
Kenya's President, William Ruto, announced the declaration, which was subsequently embraced by African Heads of State and Government, in the presence of prominent global leaders and high-level representatives during the closing plenary of the summit on Wednesday.
In a unanimous appeal to the international community, African leaders urgently called for a substantial reduction in emissions, the fulfilment of a $100 billion annual climate finance pledge to assist developing nations, and the swift operationalization of the Loss and Damage Facility established during last year's COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Simultaneously, African leaders have committed to crafting and enforcing policies, regulations, and incentives designed to attract local, regional, and global investments in green growth and inclusive economies.
The Nairobi Declaration's announcement was just one among several commitments from world leaders who recognised that decarbonizing the global economy presents an opportunity to promote equity and shared prosperity.
In addition to emphasising the importance of these goals, the Nairobi Declaration and Call to Action outline several key objectives:
Accelerating the operationalization of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Promoting green industrialization throughout the continent, with a particular focus on energy-intensive industries to stimulate renewable energy adoption and economic development, while enhancing the value of Africa's natural resources.
Redoubling efforts to increase agricultural yields through sustainable farming practices to enhance food security and minimise negative environmental impacts.
The declaration underscored the need for mobilising additional capital for both development and climate action, particularly adaptation, while simultaneously advocating for a revamp of the current global financial infrastructure, which African leaders argue fails to adequately cater to the needs of developing nations.
In his closing remarks, President William Ruto of Kenya highlighted the continent's abundant resources, including a youthful and motivated workforce, vast natural resource wealth, and substantial green energy potential.
He contended that these qualities would shape the future of global opportunity, ushering in unprecedented prosperity and a new era of industrialization that respects environmental sustainability and biodiversity.
The Nairobi Declaration also took into account the demands of young Africans, as articulated in a Youth Declaration presented to President Ruto just ahead of the Africa Climate Summit.
This Youth Declaration called for the expedited establishment of a Global Green Bank and a New Global Financial Pact, prioritising the interests of young people in climate financing.
The Africa Climate Summit yielded more than just the Nairobi Declaration. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, President-designate of COP28, unveiled a $4.5 billion initiative involving several UAE-based entities and Africa50.
This initiative aims to develop 15 Gigawatts of clean power in Africa by 2030 and is projected to catalyze at least $12.5 billion in additional financing from multilateral public and private sources.
Furthermore, Special Envoy Kerry announced a new Biden administration commitment of $3 billion annually to support adaptation as part of the US PREPARE initiative.
The President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, announced a $1 billion facility to expedite climate financing for youth-led businesses in Africa.
Dr. Adesina stressed the need for Africa to establish its own carbon markets, appropriately price its carbon emissions, and transform its extensive carbon sinks into sources of significant wealth.
He also advocated for a reevaluation of Africa's wealth by assigning proper value to its abundant natural resources, including vast carbon-sequestering forests.
James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Bank, speaking on behalf of the private sector, affirmed the business community's commitment to fostering investment opportunities across various sectors aligned with the Nairobi Declaration.
He also pledged the private sector's active pursuit of nature-based solutions in decarbonization plans, commitments to achieving net-zero emissions, and the establishment of fair working conditions in green transition mineral projects.
Throughout the Africa Climate Summit, discussions primarily revolved around strategies for mobilising financing to address the growing challenges of extreme weather, natural resource conservation, and renewable energy development.
African countries intend to carry the proposals outlined in the Nairobi Declaration to an upcoming U.N. climate conference later this month, followed by the COP28 summit scheduled to commence in the United Arab Emirates in late November.
Joab Bwire Okanda, a senior advisor at Christian Aid, welcomed the call for a global carbon tax but emphasised the need to eliminate false solutions like carbon credits that allow polluters to evade meaningful action.
Activists argue that these credits, which enable polluters to offset emissions by funding green initiatives, merely enable major polluters to continue emitting carbon dioxide.
Some analysts, such as Nazanine Moshiri, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group think-tank, expressed disappointment that the summit did not place enough emphasis on helping African communities adapt to extreme weather.
Nazanine highlighted that many communities, already grappling with increasing floods, droughts, and the risk of conflict, felt let down by the lack of focus on ensuring that green investments trickle down to them.