President Ruto leads calls to capture climate action opportunities

Africa Climate Summit is dedicated to driving green growth and climate financial solutions for Africa and the world. (Image source: Office of the President of Kenya)

At the Africa Climate Summit, running from 4-6 September in Nairobi, Kenya’s President, William Ruto, urged fellow African governments to unlock the continent’s potential by investing in green opportunities

The President claimed that putting faith in renewable energy, green industrialisation, climate-smart agriculture and nature conservation would accelerate global decarbonisation, encourage sustainable development and drive economic growth. In doing this, millions of jobs would be created. 

“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 is primed to capitalise on,” he surmised. 

Africa’s renewable potential is vast and, by effectively capitalising and exploiting this, the continent could potentially become entirely self-sufficient in regards to energy and become a global hub in the green industrial supply chain. 

To achieve this, the Kenyan President set a challenge to African states to invest in value addition of raw materials and abandon the minimalist, short-term, raw-material-based approach. 

“The time has come for us to break out of the shackles of low ambition. We must now begin to aim higher and strive for more, and better outcomes,” he noted before adding the country should also leverage its agricultural land assets to enhance Africa’s food security and monetise agricultural systems.

Touching on his own country, President Ruto observed that Kenya is leading the way in the adoption of renewable energy and has set an ambition to be powered by 100% renewables by 2030, with a 100GW, entirely renewable grid by 2040. 

He further reinforced his rallying cry by (later at the summit) handing over Ksh7.2bn (approx. US$50mn) to counties under the Financing Locally-LED Climate Action (FLLoCA) programme in the form of country climate change investment grants. This aims to enhance the country’s climate adoption through financing, technology and capacity building. The Presdient also presided over the launch of Long-Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategies (LT-LEDS) 2022-2050; the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) 2023-2027; and the Climate Change (Amendment) Act 2023.

Elsewhere, the UK Government has indicated that it will announce projects worth UK£49mn (approx. US$62mn) at the summit. These projects, will focus on mobilising finance for climate action and help people manage the impact of climate change across the continent. The funding will be used to help create jobs, grow economies, and improve the prospects for women, farmers and at-risk communities. 

While in Kenya, UK Minister for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, will reportedly reaffirm his Government’s commitment to providing UK£11.6bn (approx. US$14.6bn) international climate finance over five years and will call for the rapid reform of the international financial system to unlock trillions of dollars to combat climate change. 

Mitchell said, “Our partnerships with African countries on green investment and climate resilience are growing economies and improving lives. But more action has to be taken, as those least responsible for climate change are increasingly bearing the brunt of its effects. The UK is working closely with African partners to fight climate change, boost resilience and help those whose lives are most impacted.