Africa secures $23 billion in financial commitments at Africa Climate Summit

  • 11 Sep 2023
  • 3 Mins Read
  • 〜 by Abigael Ndanu

The inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS23), held in Nairobi, has come to a close with the groundbreaking announcement from President William Ruto. He revealed grants and investment pledges totalling $23 billion (Kshs 3.4 trillion), all directed towards unlocking clean energy investments across Africa. 

Other significant pledges included the European Union’s €12 million (Kshs. 1.8 billion) grant for the green hydrogen industry in Kenya, a $4.5 billion (Kshs 656.4 billion) finance initiative for clean energy by COP28 president-designate Sultan Al Jaber, and the US’s $30 million (Kshs 4.3 billion) grant for food security and climate resilience efforts.

At the same time, an announcement of the ‘Nairobi Declaration,’ signifying a momentous achievement for Africa as it consolidates its unified stance on climate change was made. This declaration was the result of a three-day summit attended by prominent global leaders, over 20 heads of state, and 30,000 delegates, significantly enhancing Africa’s influence on the international stage.

The ‘Nairobi Declaration’ is a comprehensive document that not only calls for global action to reduce emissions but also demands reforms to multilateral financial systems, debt relief, and debt restructuring. Kenyan President William Ruto, the driving force behind ACS23, emphasised the declaration’s significance in shaping Africa’s common stance on climate change, guiding challenging discussions, tough decisions, and transformative changes toward sustainability.

President Ruto views the declaration as a powerful tool to enhance Africa’s position on the global stage. He plans to utilise it in various multilateral forums, including the upcoming G20 meeting, United Nations General Assembly, World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund meetings, and COP28 in Dubai in December.

In addition to its call for climate financing, the ‘Nairobi Declaration’ underscores opportunities for green investments in Africa’s emerging blue and green economies. It advocates for a proposed “carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport, and aviation.” It firmly reminds the international community of its commitment to the annual climate finance pledge of $100 billion and urges accelerated efforts to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. It calls for phasing out coal and abolishing fossil fuel subsidies while operationalising the Loss and Damage facility established at COP27.

Recognising the debt challenges faced by many African nations, the declaration proposes debt relief measures, including extending repayment periods and implementing a 10-year grace period to align borrowed funds with development goals. Under the theme “Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World,” ACS23 was hailed as a resounding success. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell praised President Ruto for hosting an event that addressed the need for financing and Africa’s role in addressing climate change.

In the midst of the extensive discussions and commitments made during ACS, it is crucial to remember that without concrete plans for actionable activities, all our efforts may ultimately amount to a futile exercise. We must take the knowledge we’ve gained and the resources we’ve mobilized and translate them into tangible actions at the grassroots level. It’s imperative that we listen to the voices of those directly affected by climate change, understand their specific challenges, and formulate comprehensive plans to address these issues.

Each financial grant, regardless of its size, demands vigilant oversight from the government to ensure proper utilization and strict accountability. It is not enough to allocate funds; we must also ensure they are applied effectively and transparently. This commitment to oversight and accountability is essential to ensure that every dollar serves its intended purpose and contributes to meaningful change.