‘Common agenda’ calls intensify ahead of Africa Climate Summit

Monday August 28 2023

People sit in Johannesburg CBD, South Africa during a protest organised by the Earth Life Africa, against the large use of coal to produce energy in the country and asking a fast transition to green energies on November 10, 2022. PHOTO | LUCA SOLA | AFP


Organisers of the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi are facing the heat from civil society activists and experts who are pushing for what they say should generate a meaningful stand for the continent.

First point of contention has been on the agenda and sponsorship, with critics feeling those who bring in the money could sway the agenda, away from what Africa needs.

This week, a letter to Kenya’s President William Ruto co-signed by more than 300 civil societies emerged on the website

It called for “an urgent reset” of the agenda pushed by organisers of the summit set for Nairobi next month.

Read: Kenya seeks Swedish support ahead of Climate Summit

The meeting is co-hosted by the African Union.


In Nairobi, civil society put up eight key demands including criticising the influence by a consultancy company, Mckinsey and Company. Organisers distance themselves from claims of interference of the African agenda by the West.

Kenya’s Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya said that the summit is Africa’s business only even though it has partners from around the world.

“We have civil society organisations, and consultancy firms that have heard us and shared input and queries, but I can confirm that this is the African position we are projecting,” she said.

The summit website lists partners to the event, grouped into multilateral, bilateral and technical partners, foundations and philanthropies.

So far, the summit has about 40 partners, and only less than 10 are originally from the continent.

In a press conference held Monday, civil societies and religious organisations also called out the summit organisers for embracing ‘false solutions’ as part of the key agenda while discounting the real issues on the climate crisis.

Dr Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, called out Kenya for its ‘obsession with carbon markets’.

The non-state actors were worried that Africa is losing focus on uniting for the adoption of the framework on the Global Goal for Adaptation.

Read: Experts urge strong climate change action in Africa

“The summit must press for increasing adaptation finance to Africa by more than double and ensure it is based on Africa’s needs and reaches the communities at the forefront of the climate crisis,” said Dr Mwenda.

And experts have called on the Summit to prioritise green energy transition.

At least 15 African presidents are expected at the summit themed, “Driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the world.”

“It should prioritise and advance the interests of Africa and facilitate climate action that supports a rapid and equitable transition away from fossil fuels, but also set ambitious targets for deployment of decentralised renewable energy that leverages the continent’s vast renewable energy potential,” said Charity Migwi of, a global grassroots climate change movement.

Rwanda’s Minister for Environment Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya told The EastAfrican that the country expects tangible commitments and pledges on increasing access to reliable low-carbon energy.

Today, 62 per cent of the total power used in Rwanda is delivered from renewable energy sources.

“Renewable energy targets would involve overall energy mix, expanding to clean energy and exploring specific capacity goals for appropriate technologies (solar, wind, hydro and geothermal),” she said.