Africa calls for review of model to address climate

Saturday September 09 2023

President William Ruto signs the launch of the green Hydrogen strategy and road map for Kenya at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya during the Africa Climate Summit on September 5,2023. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG


African leaders want structures overhauled to tackle development on the continent within the ambit of climate change.

Speaking at the inaugural African Climate Summit (ACS) in Nairobi on Monday the leaders argued for a shift from donor-recipient relationships toward investment-based collaborations.

However, they insisted on for climate justice in the face of multiple climate disasters on the continent and called on rich countries to fulfil unmet climate finance commitment set in 2009 aimed to mobilise $100 billion per year for developing countries by 2020 — a goal which in any case will expire in 2025, and to scale climate finance for the continent.

“Together we aim to elevate the discourse surrounding climate change and rely on support for a financial architecture, especially tailored by Africa, while also emphasizing our continent’s abundance in resources and resilience as we accelerate our transition towards a climate resilient future,” said commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment at the African Union Commission, Josefa Sacko.

Read: Why Africa can be the lungs of the world

The ACS 2023 was held September 4-8 hosted by Kenya and the AU.


Developing countries face the double challenge of investing in development, climate mitigation and adaptation, while addressing the costs of loss and damage. For example, it is estimated that since 1961, Africa has experienced a one-third reduction in agricultural productivity due to climate change. This serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for adaptation measures.

According to Sacko, numerous African governments are using at least two percent of their budget to address climate-related disasters. Furthermore, research indicates that some nations are spending up to 50 percent of their GDP annually in response to such calamities. The economic impact of climate change on the continent exceeds 5 percent of its annual GDP.

An estimated $6 trillion is required by developing countries by 2030 to meet less than half of their existing nationally determined contributions, according to recent analysis by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Africa’s cry for promised resources of $100 billion by the developed countries’ parties during the Paris Agreement, COP21, has not yielded tangible results.

Read: ‘Common agenda’ calls intensify ahead of Africa Climate Summit

Executive secretary of the UNFCCC, Simon Stiell, emphasized the global imperative to reduce emissions by 43 percent from 2019 levels by 2030 in order to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Above this threshold, impacts will be significantly greater, especially in regions like Africa.

He said to achieve these emission reductions and mitigate climate change impacts, immediate actions are required including delivering the pledged $100 billion, doubling adaptation finance, replenishing funds like the Green Climate Fund and aligning global finance systems with sustainable actions.

Executive Director of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, Mithika Mwenda, highlighted how past climate change negotiations have perpetuated mistrust between the North and the South regarding strategies for reversing its impacts.

According to Mwenda, Africa needs between $160 billion and $340 billion by 2030 for adequate adaptation measures - a far cry from current annual flows of about $16 billion.

He however noted that despite this gap in funding, “Africa possesses critical natural resources such as cobalt and lithium that can drive clean energy transitions. It is essential that conversations shift towards leveraging these resources responsibly instead of perpetuating carbon-addicted industrial revolutions fueled by fossil fuels - which have contributed significantly to our current challenges.”

Ms Sacko added, “Africa needs to move from a donor-recipient relationship to one built around investment, as that is the pathway to reaping development aspirations of our continent.”

Read: EU makes offer to Africa's climate change fight

“The fundamental driver of success for African green transition will be the availability of resources for investment, and these must be accompanied by the strengthening of the ability of the African countries to mobilise their own domestic resources built on the foundation of solid and inclusive economic growth. We have the resources. We have the capacity. Let us start allocating the resources on the environmental agenda when we are doing our national budgets.”

Sacko warned against relying solely on exporting raw materials with minimal value addition but urged for an overhaul in Africa’s economic model that accelerates poverty reduction, while fighting climate change.

“Significant investments should be directed towards establishing climate resilience centered on energy access. Such investments would drive sustainable industrialization while reducing poverty levels across the continent.”

She called upon partners to align their investments with strategic actions outlined in key initiatives such as the African Union’s climate change and resilience development strategy & action plan recently adopted by heads of state, continental green recovery action plan; and integrated meteorology strategy. She also urged cohesive partnerships to avoid duplication of existing efforts.

The overarching theme, as highlighted by Kenya’s President William Ruto, is that “climate action presents an unparalleled opportunity for Africa… that should be unlocked by directing large-scale investments there.”

He, however, called on reforms to the global financial architecture that would help deliver climate and development finance at the appropriate scale. At the same time, he called for effective policies and regulations for investment, entrepreneurship and creativity of local business.