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Overview of climate change management in Africa

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Overview of climate change management in Africa

Promises made to uplift Africa and its people have failed to deliver equitable justice. Yet Africa can play a central role in the global fight against climate change, but not at the expense of its own economic development.

Africa keeps its partners’ promises

At the African Climate Week, Africa’s resounding call echoed through the packed hall, declaring: « We will hold you to your promises ». This statement well reflects the aspirations of the entire continent.

As civilization has flourished, the continent has gone from being the cradle of civilization to the dumping ground of urbanization. Promises made to uplift Africa and its people have failed to deliver equitable justice, and the trend continues.

Takeways of the African Climate Summit 2023

Promises to protect Africa from climate change have so far met with little success. Africa contributes only 23 % of global emissions, yet it is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. At the African Climate Summit 2023, this sentiment was widely shared by Africans and visitors alike.

The Nairobi Declaration has become Africa’s strongest statement on climate change. Nairobi could be the cradle of a turning point in African history. A new phenomenon in which the promises made to the continent may well be kept. The underlying message is clear : stop acting in isolation to achieve the common goal of climate justice for Africa.

The narrative of decarbonizing the global economy for equitable prosperity is prevalent throughout the Declaration. At the same time, it addresses the challenge of over-exploitation of Africa’s natural resources, urging leaders to develop strategic mechanisms for sustainable use of the continent’s resources. While Africa can play a central role in the global fight against climate change, this must not be at the expense of its economic development.

Leaders therefore call for multilateral financial reforms, the development of a global carbon tax regime, and innovative financial systems focused on what Africa needs most: resilience to climate shocks.

Investment to unlock climate change mitigation potential

The development and private sectors have made a number of concrete commitments to unlock the continent’s climate potential, representing some 23 billion USD in investments across Africa. Among the various announcements, the most notable was Masdar’s 10 billion USD commitment to build 10 GW of clean energy projects in Africa by 2030.

Similarly, AMEA Power has pledged to raise 5 billion USD to finance 5 GW of clean energy projects in Africa. Several other organizations have also pledged significant amounts of climate finance to the continent.

The intention of those working on policies, pledges and commitments, financial and otherwise, seems to be the right one: to protect the most vulnerable from the catastrophic effects of climate change. The question is to what extent this will be translated into action.

Promises to Africa not always kept

The world has seen several broken promises to Africa on climate finance. In 2009, developed countries promised to provide 100 billion USD by 2020 to help developing countries fight the effects of climate change. However, they failed to keep their promise, falling 17 billion USD short.

Therefore, these pledges must be accompanied by accountability measures and a monitoring framework. Stakeholders must be held accountable for the damage caused by their failure to meet their commitments. The consequences of breaking promises may seem insignificant to those who make them. But it jeopardizes the survival of the people who depend on the aid they receive.

Climate finance in Africa : An issue beyond money

Climate finance is about more than money. In fact, it is a humanitarian imperative for Africa, which contributes the least but is the most vulnerable to the climate crisis. Africa Climate Week is proving its worth by bringing the sources and sinks of climate capital to the same table. Africa’s leaders must now step up to the plate to ensure that the promises made are kept.

Every dollar of African climate finance flowing into the continent must be invested in sustainable mitigation and adaptation. Only then can Africa give itself a strong chance of surviving the potentially catastrophic consequences.

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