Ruto in 'Time Magazine' 100 world leaders climate action list

Friday November 17 2023
William Ruto

President William Ruto during National Tree Growing Day in Makueni County, Kenya on November 13, 2023. PHOTO | PCS


Kenya's President William Ruto has been recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Climate Leaders in Business for 2023.

The US magazine said Dr Ruto has gained prominence as a champion of green investment in Africa, notably through hosting this year's inaugural Africa Climate Summit.

The event secured approximately Ksh3.5 trillion ($23 billion) in funding for green projects across the continent.

In an interview with the magazine, Ruto said that in order to advance the climate agenda in the next year, capital providers need to reassess their perception of investment risks in Africa, arguing that these are often structurally overestimated.

Read: Why Africa can be the lungs of the world

"This overstating of risk is true even before taking into account the downside risk and costs of inadequate climate action — if that were incorporated, the cost of capital in Africa could come down even further, since Africa can offer climate-positive growth: it can be a globally cost-competitive climate action powerhouse, greening global supply and manufacturing chains and removing carbon," he explained.


In addition, Ruto “believes that advocacy against deglobalization is the sustainability effort that will gain popularity with the general public this year”, the magazine said. 

He stressed that climate change requires a unified approach rather than a fragmented one that labels countries as either polluters or victims.

"Africa can provide affordable renewable energy, green products, conservation and climate restoration. But that will only happen if we think of humanity as sharing a joint burden and future, and if we deploy economic activities where they make most sense to drive human development and counter climate change as quickly, cheaply, and effectively as possible."

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

When asked about the most important climate legislation likely to pass in 2024, Dr Ruto identified the advancement towards a global carbon price as pivotal. This initiative, he explained, aims to accurately reflect the true cost of climate change, incorporating it into associated trade regulation.

He highlighted Africa's potential with its renewable energy potential, young workforce, and natural resources and assets, can create an inherent ability to offer cost-competitive green products and services while addressing global labour shortages.

"Properly pricing externalities is needed to create the incentives to make climate-smart solutions the economically rational option, displacing fossil fuels on the business and investment case. Fair and equitable market access will allow us to build on each other’s strengths globally."

Time 100 Climate list produced multitudes of individuals making significant progress in fighting climate change by creating business value. 

These also included Nemonte Nenquimo, a Waorani leader and co-founder of Amazon Frontlines and Ceibo Alliance; Gim Huay Neo, Managing Director at the Centre for Nature and Climate, World Economic Forum; Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados; Marina Silva, Brazil's Minister of Environment and Climate Change; and Mafalda Duarte, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund.