President Bola Tinubu and former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are expected to attend the ongoing Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss crucial climate change issues.
These discussions will encompass areas such as green growth, carbon pricing, climate financing, climate adaptation, and renewable and clean energy.
Hosted by Kenyan President William Ruto, who doubles as the Chairman of the Committee of Heads of State of the African Union on Climate Change, the summit is themed: “Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World.” The inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) 2023 kicked off yesterday, in Nairobi, Kenya, “with the crucial objective of delivering green growth and climate finance solutions, for Africa.”
According to the organisers, the event will see heads of state come together to collaborate and establish a cohesive approach on crucial matters including adaptation and resilience, renewable energy, sustainable development, food and water security, and financing for climate action in Africa.
These discussions are anticipated to play a significant role in the preparations for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28), which is slated for November in the United Arab Emirates.
As the summit commenced, Kenyan President William Ruto extended a warm welcome to all the delegates and participants. He emphasised the undeniable reality of the challenges posed by climate change, but remained firm in his belief that these challenges can be overcome.
According to him, although Africa’s carbon footprint is relatively small, the impact of climate change on its people is disproportionately high. He emphasised the need to address the consequences of climate change and establish effective financial mechanisms to enhance resilience, especially in the face of extreme weather events and climate-related insecurities.
While recognising the complexities of balancing needs and responsibilities, he urged the participants to view these challenges as opportunities for growth and to take the lead in creating a prosperous world.
He said, “Delivering prosperity and well-being for Africa’s growing population without pushing the world deeper into climate disaster is not an abstract proposition or mere wishful thinking, it is a real possibility proven by science and affirmed by emerging experience. An opportunity-oriented focus on climate action is the engine for propelling Africa into a realm of stability and prosperity, elevating us to middle-income status and beyond.
“This context is precisely what sets this Climate Summit apart from others. It aims to unite us– across neighbourhoods, across sectors and institutions, across country borders, across continents,and across generations. It is because we all have a shared stake in the Earth’s ability to sustain life, that we must envision together a future that embraces the values of equality, human security, and shared prosperity.”
According to Mr. Ruto, Africa is well-equipped to achieve the future it aspires for, thanks to its abundant young and expanding workforce. He emphasised that this workforce is not only youthful but also well-educated, skilled, and motivated to contribute to industry, innovation, and enterprise.
He added; “We have ample renewable energy potential, and the natural assets and resources to green our own consumption, and meaningfully contribute to the decarbonization of the global economy. We must see in green growth not just a climate imperative, but also a fountain of multi-billion-dollar economic opportunities that Africa and the World are primed to capitalise on.
“We are brought together by a clear understanding and deep concern about the inadequacy of our present means, in terms of institutions and available finances, to deal effectively with the magnitude of our collective threats and challenges. But we will not shy away from the difficult conversations and uncomfortable realities that must be faced to achieve meaningful change. Policy, regulation, taxation, trade, and climate justice will all be scrutinised in national, regional, and global contexts. Yet the way we frame these discussions matters. I invite all to adopt an “opportunity lens” as we navigate these complex dialogues.”
Nigeria’s President is anticipated to join other African leaders at a plenary session called “Chatting a Vision: Investment Opportunities for Green Growth.” Although it is uncertain if the President will attend the summit, it is scheduled for Tuesday. The session will be moderated by Damilola Ogunbiyi, a Nigerian who serves as the United Nations Representative of the Secretary-General and CEO of Energy for All.
The panel will also include the President of Kenya, William Ruto, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed; and the President of Senegal, Macky Sall. Additionally, Vice President Osinbajo is expected to take part in a panel discussion on “Carbon Markets in the Global South” on Monday.
During the opening session, representatives from various organisations, such as the African Union Commission, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Indigenous People of Africa, attended the summit. Josefa Sacko, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment, representing the AU Commission, emphasised the summit’s dedication to rebuilding Africa by harnessing its abundant resources. Simon Stiell, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, also addressed the audience, urging African leaders to empower local initiatives and ensure that Africa is well-prepared and unified in its stance on climate change at COP28.