The UN climate change chief and Kenya’s President have launched a working group to chart discussions on sustainable energy transition and climate finance in Africa ahead of the 28th Conference of state parties (COP28) later in the year.
Ruto met Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, the COP28 president-designate and announced that the working group would “focus on the just energy transition and unlocking climate finance to accelerating green growth in Africa in the lead-up to the respective summits.”
Other than the COP28 to be held in late November in Dubai, the other summit referenced in the communique is the Africa Climate Action summit to be held in Nairobi in September.
The two leaders said that by forming the joint teams, they were demonstrating a commitment to the cause of climate change mitigation and adaptation and green energy assimilation.
The two said that the discussion at the summit in Nairobi will set the right context for the COP28 discussions with Africa leading from the front given the abundant renewable energy sources in the continent.
“Both the Africa Climate Action Summit and COP28 will be critical milestones in the year of the Global Stocktake for the international community to come together and provide a solutions-oriented path forward. A critical element will be a plan to fundamentally transition the world’s energy systems and vastly scale investments in clean energy,” the joint communique to newsrooms read in part.
The centrality of Africa in the energy transition discourse was underpinned by the fact that it is “home to one of the planet’s most important carbon sink, endowed with significant untapped hydro potential along the Congo and Nile rivers, geothermal potential along the Rift Valley, and solar and wind potential across the Continent”.
“It is also home to the current and next generation of climate leaders, entrepreneurs, business, and civil society that will help unlock the solutions to transformative action. On a continent where almost half of the population still lacks electricity, clean energy provides an opportunity to supercharge economic growth and improve lives and livelihoods,” they said.
Ruto and Al Jaber said that Africa needs to do more in investing in green energy initiatives if it is to effectively lead the discussion in the area given it bears much brunt of the climate change.
Specifically, they said, clean energy investment in Africa represents only 2 per cent of the global total and less than 10 per cent of the $120 billion a year that is required.
“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.”