/ 3 September 2023

Africa has its work cut out as Africa Climate Summit kicks off in Kenya

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The theme for the Africa Climate Summit is “driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the world”. (Nathan Laine/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Africa has a key role to play in solving climate change despite not causing it. This is according to Mohamed Adow the founder and director of Power Shift Africa.

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian ahead of Africa Climate Week (ACW) and the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya 4-8 September, Adow said “the reality of climate change is that it was not Africa that caused the crisis, but it is Africa that will determine whether humanity can fix it. How Africa develops over the next two decades will determine the fate of the planet”. 

The theme for the event is “driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the world”. The summit will offer African leaders a chance to endorse and put into action concepts aimed at advancing climate resilience, adaptation and mitigation initiatives. 

Charity Migwi, a regional campaigner at 350Africa.org, says we have to call upon African leaders to put green energy over fossil fuels and reiterate the need to scale up global investments in renewable energy to support the just energy transition in Africa.  

Despite contributing less than 4% of historical global emissions, Africa bears the greatest burden of devastating climate impacts from extreme weather events while it is the least culpable for the climate crisis. And this is one of the things the summit will look to address.

Climate change is already wreaking havoc on the African continent. In a statement, the Global Strategic Communications Network (GSCC), a global network of communications professionals in the field of climate and energy, mentioned some of the harsh impacts seen this year. It included drought, desertification and the frequency of cyclones in countries like Mozambique and Malawi.

The cyclones saw lives lost and people displaced. 

According to the African Development Bank, Africa is losing a staggering $7 billion to $15 billion every year due to the devastating effects of climate change. This could rise to about $50 billion per year by 2030. 

To adapt, African countries need to raise $124 billion annually by 2030, but the current situation is that the continent only receives $28 billion a year, a statement by the GSCC said. 

The summit was an opportune platform to highlight the need to prioritise adaptation investment in Africa. 

“This is not just recognising Africa’s suffering, but also driving substantial funding to helping the continent adapt to the changing world”, noted Chilufya Chileshe, food policy expert at SDG2 Advocacy Hub dealing with food security. 

The summit will set the tone for COP28, as the continent continues to anticipate more commitments towards the delivery of the $100 billion funding target support from development banks for climate adaptation. Many believe it is an opportunity for the continent to develop a unified voice ahead of COP28.

According to the GSCC, these are some of the key issues the summit must discuss to build on going into COP28: 

1. Reforming finance to help countries after a climate disaster.

2. Strengthening African adaptation initiatives and delivering on a loss and damage fund which will help countries reeling from climate disasters. It will also put pressure on rich nations to set up and operationalise the fund sooner.   

3. There must be investment in early warning and early action systems for disaster risk reduction.

4. The summit will also look at the Global Stocktake, a crucial topic at COP28 which will look at the progress made at the 2015 Paris Agreement where countries agreed to limit global heating. 

Lesego Chepape is a climate reporting fellow, funded by the Open Society Foundation for South Africa.