African Climate Summit: a first edition in Kenya to prepare for COP28

African policymakers are kicking off a summit in Kenya on Monday (September 4) aimed at making the continent an emerging renewable energy powerhouse and calling for international financial assistance to unleash its potential

African Climate Summit: a first edition in Kenya to prepare for COP28

African policymakers are kicking off a summit in Kenya on Monday (September 4) aimed at making the continent an emerging renewable energy powerhouse and calling for international financial assistance to unleash its potential. International climate negotiations will culminate in a battle over ending fossil fuels at COP28 in Dubai from late November to early December.

For three days, leaders and officials from Africa and beyond, including United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, will be welcomed to the capital, Nairobi, by Kenyan President William Ruto. Mr. Ruto hopes that this summit will allow the continent to find a common language on development and climate in order to “propose African solutions” at COP28.

An opportunity for the world

An African position on the subject would "save lives and the planet from disaster", he said on Monday. "We aspire to define a new growth agenda that enables shared prosperity and sustainable development", he continued on X (ex-Twitter), calling on the international community to release funds for the continent and to reduce the debt burden on African countries.

Africa, home to 1.2 billion people in 54 countries, is politically and economically diverse and home to some of the most vulnerable populations to climate change. A success in Nairobi around a shared vision on Africa's green development would give impetus to several key international meetings ahead of COP28, most notably the G20 summit in India in September and the United Nations General Assembly. , then in October the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Marrakech.

According to Joseph Nganga, appointed by William Ruto to chair the summit, the conference should demonstrate that "Africa is not just a victim but a dynamic continent with solutions for the world". “We have the power to respond to this crisis (…). Africa represents an opportunity for the world if we work together for mutual benefit,” said Mr. Nganga of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), which promotes renewable energy in developing countries.

Expected manifestation

Security has been tightened in Nairobi and roads closed around the summit venue. According to the government, 30,000 people have accreditations for the event. Civil society groups are expected to demonstrate near the site on Monday to denounce a "deeply compromised agenda" focusing on the interests of rich countries.

To limit global warming to 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era provided for by the Paris agreement, investment must reach 2,000 billion dollars (1,851 billion euros) per year in these developing countries. within a decade, the IMF calculated.

A draft "Nairobi Declaration" viewed by Agence France-Presse, but still under negotiation, speaks of "Africa's unique potential to be an essential part of the solution". The document cites the region's vast renewable energy potential, its young workforce and its natural assets, including 40% of the world's reserves of cobalt, manganese and platinum, essential for batteries and hydrogen.

But the challenges are overwhelming for a continent where some 500 million people lack access to electricity. And African leaders continue to point out the considerable financial obstacles.