President of Kenya, William Ruto has emphasized that African countries “must go green fast before industrializing and not vice versa, unlike (richer nations) had the luxury to do.”
He iterated that transforming Africa’s economy on a green trajectory “is the most feasible, just and efficient way to attain a net-zero world by 2050.”
He made these remarks on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, the Day 2 of the Africa Climate Summit.
The three-day summit, Africa’s first, began in Nairobi on Monday, September 4, 2023. It has attracted heads of state, government and industry. Leaders from Mozambique and Tanzania have come as well.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and U.S Climate Envoy John Kerry were in attendance as well.
The African continent has 60% of the world’s renewable energy assets, and more than 30% of the minerals key to renewable and low-carbon technologies.
One goal of the Africa Climate Summit is to transform the narrative around the continent from victim to assertive, wealthy partner.
In his speech, Ruto declared that climate change is “relentlessly eating away” at Africa’s economic progress, adding that it is time to have a global conversation about a carbon tax on polluters.
“Those who produce the garbage refuse to pay their bills,” Ruto said.
According to the Kenyan President, the rapidly growing African continent is losing 5% to 15% of its GDP growth every year to the widespread impacts of climate change.
This is a source of deep frustration in Africa, the resource-rich continent that contributes by far the least to global warming.
Ruto criticized the “addiction” to fossil fuels. His country now gets more than 90% of its energy from renewables.
On his part, the U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, disclosed at the summit that it is time to “break our addiction to fossil fuels.” According to the International Monetary Fund, the world spent $7 trillion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2022.
Guterres also urged the world to help “make Africa a renewable energy superpower.”
“Renewable energy could be the African miracle but we must make it happen,” he said.
Meanwhile, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen noted that African nations could produce enough clean energy to power the continent and export abroad, “but for this, Africa needs massive investment.”
UAE, U.S Pledge Funds For Africa
Also at the summit, the United Arab Emirates pledged to invest $4.5 billion in Africa’s “clean energy potential.”
Sultan Al Jaber, Head of UAE’s national oil company, ADNOC and state-owned renewable energy company, Masdar, stated that the investment would “jumpstart a pipeline of bankable clean energy projects in this very important continent.”
Additionally, U.S Climate Envoy, John Kerry announced that the U.S. intends to provide a fund in food security and climate resilience efforts across the African continent.
Kerry, acknowledged the “acute, unfair debt,” saying that 17 of the world’s 20 countries most impacted by climate crisis are in Africa, while the world’s 20 richest nations, including his own, produce 80% of the world’s carbon emissions that are driving climate change.
“As part of implementing President Joe Biden’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) – an initiative launched at the COP26 in Glasgow, I’m pleased to announce the US’ intent to provide an additional KSh 4.3 billion to accelerate climate-resilient food security efforts across Africa.
“Second, KSh 1.4 billion will go to the Climate Resilience and Adaptation Finance and Technology Transfer Facility to scale technologies advancing adaptation like cold chain storage, which helps maintain the quality and safety of food from the farm into people’s homes.”John Kerry