Africa Climate Summit – Billions Pledged as Talks Continue

During a significant climate summit focused on showcasing Africa’s green potential, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has committed a substantial $4.5 billion for clean energy investments in the continent. Kenyan President William Ruto, at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, aimed to reshape the continent’s narrative, highlighting the clean energy transition as a unique opportunity for Africa. However, realising this potential hinges on securing the necessary financing.

In addition to this commitment, the UAE is set to host the upcoming COP28 summit in Dubai in November-December. Sultan Al-Jaber, who heads both the UAE’s national oil company ADNOC and the government-owned renewable energy entity Masdar, emphasised that this investment would serve as a catalyst, propelling a series of financially viable clean energy projects in this critical continent.

Furthermore, Al-Jaber outlined plans for a consortium, including Masdar, to contribute to the development of 15 gigawatts of clean power by the year 2030. As of 2022, Africa’s renewable energy generation capacity reached an impressive 56 gigawatts, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The three-day Nairobi summit, which commenced on Monday, succeeded in drawing the participation of heads of state, government officials, and industry leaders. Notable attendees included leaders from Mozambique and Tanzania, as well as prominent figures like United Nations head Antonio Guterres, European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen and the United States’ climate envoy, John Kerry.

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This summit’s overarching objective is to bring together African leaders with the aim of defining a collective vision for sustainable green development on a continent comprising 1.4 billion people. Additionally, it seeks to set the stage for an extensive programme of international diplomacy leading up to the COP28 meeting.

Nonetheless, Africa confronts substantial challenges, primarily characterised by mounting debt burdens and a scarcity of financial resources. Despite its wealth of natural resources, the continent currently receives just 3 percent of global energy investments. Antonio Guterres, in response to these challenges, called upon the international community to collaborate in the endeavour to transform Africa into a renewable energy powerhouse.

Ensuring a global shift toward clean energy in developing nations is paramount for preserving the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels, with an aspiration to achieve 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) if feasible.

To achieve this goal, the International Energy Agency contends that investments must surge to $2 trillion annually within the next decade, marking an eightfold increase in financial commitment.

Al-Jaber specifically called for a “precise overhaul of the global financial framework, originally designed for a different era,” emphasising the importance of institutions reducing debt burdens.

On the inaugural day of the summit, President Ruto highlighted the necessity for trillions of dollars in “green investment opportunities” in light of the escalating climate crisis.

“Africa possesses the key to expediting the decarbonisation of the global economy. We are not just a continent blessed with abundant resources; we represent an untapped reservoir of potential, ready to actively participate and compete fairly in the global markets,” Ruto asserted.