Kenyan President William Ruto and Dr. Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), COP28 President-Designate, have stressed the importance of bolstering their collaboration during the upcoming African Climate Action Summit and COP28.
Kenya is to host Africa Climate Week in Nairobi from September 4th to 8th, building momentum ahead of the 2023 Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP28, held later this year in Dubai.
In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the leaders underlined the significance of such events as they provide an opportunity for the international community to agree on future paths that focus on practical solutions to mend the climate crisis.
Both Leaders have called for continued action on the climate crisis, stating: "Climate change is one of the greatest challenges confronting the world today. Both the African Climate Action Summit and COP28 will be critical milestones in the year of the Global Stock take for the international community to come together and provide a solutions-oriented path forward."
Adding: "We [President Ruto and COP28 President-Designate Dr. Sultan Al Jaber] are determined to work hand in hand to ensure COP28 and the African Climate Action Summit will deliver real and tangible results for the climate and for the people of Africa and the world."
The Kenyan president praised the UAE for its long-standing achievements towards sustainable development and climate action. The Emirates were one of a few countries that submitted a new Nationally determined contribution (NDC) with hopes of a 31% emissions reduction target ahead of COP27.
“We will work together to facilitate the highest possible ambition across every climate pillar at Cop28,” shared president Ruto.
Dr. Al Jaber highlighted the value of the African Climate Action Summit as a decisive moment for the continent as well as milestone on the road to Cop28 that will accelerate the energy transition and bring African solutions to the event later this year.
“We are pleased to announce that Cop28 and Kenya will join forces to champion action towards the necessary tripling of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030,” Dr. Al Jaber said.
“We call on all parties, in every region, to join this effort and work together in order to mobilize a global movement of action.” He added.
A wealth of unexploited potential
According to the statement, Africa has the potential to lead this transition and deliver enormous benefits for the region and globally.
Africa is home to one of the planet’s most important carbon sinks, with significant untapped geothermal potential along its portion of the Great Rift Valley, hydro potential along the Congo and Nile rivers, and Solar potential throughout the continent.
As energy prices soar and many suffer from lack of electricity, clean energy provides an opportunity to supercharge economic growth, improve lives and livelihoods. Though, clean energy investments on the continent represent less than 10% of the $120 billion a year required for sustainability.
“We must transform the way we deploy public, concessional and philanthropic capital to drive the private investment that is needed for climate action in Africa. […] We need to fundamentally rethink the way financiers, governments, global institutions and technology providers engage with each other. We must all play our collective part, especially to ensure that climate action leverages and benefits all of society, including women, youth and children, and indigenous peoples,” urged the joint statement.
Despite its low contribution to greenhouse gas emissions (2-3%), Africa remains the most vulnerable continent to the climate crisis. This year alone, a historic drought rages in the Horn of Africa, multiple floods have left many dead in central-eastern and south-eastern Africa resulting in food insecurity, poverty, and mass displacement.
Experts forecast 30% less harvesting in the next years on a continent set to be the most populous by 2050.
The Kenyan and Emirati collaboration aims to focus on tackling these issues through just energy transition and unlocking climate finance to accelerating green growth in Africa in the lead up to the respective summits.
Mr. Ruto and Dr. Al Jaber guaranteed continued close co-ordination at the political level in the coming months “towards the delivery of a highly ambitious outcome in Nairobi and at Cop28 in Dubai”.