The Africa Climate Summit has ended in Kenya with leaders calling on the global community to act urgently to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fulfill its obligations and keep financial promises to fight climate change.
Speaking on behalf of the other African heads of state present at the Africa Climate Summit, Kenyan President William Ruto said the agreement reached at the conference shows the seriousness of African states to help solve the climate change crisis.
“The Africa Climate Summit is both a demonstration of the unwavering collective commitment of the people of Africa to their vision to make humanity's first home here in Africa, a land of abundant potential, limitless opportunity, and the possibility of shared prosperity," he said. "It also showcases our determination to mobilize a global coalition of emergency responders to ensure that the industrialization necessary to drive future economic transformation restores our planet's vitality and ecological balance."
The summit, which began Monday and ended Wednesday, focused on green growth in Africa and finding financing solutions to support the programs aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change, which affects the continent’s estimated 1.3 billion people.
African leaders underscored they are committed to developing and implementing policies, regulations and incentives to attract local, regional and global investment in the push for green growth.
The Nairobi declaration, leaders said, will serve as the foundation for Africa's united position in the global climate change initiative.
Kenyan youth leader Raphael Chesori said leaders and delegates at the summit demonstrated their willingness to fight climate change.
"What I have witnessed is a demonstrated effort by the heads of state in Africa and, of course, with the global partners on how they can really have grassroots initiatives in the fight against climate change. And there are also commitments in terms of climate financing and consensual financing, and what also came out is that the non-state actors are also willing to partner with the governments to see that there is participation of the people at the grassroots level," said Chesori.
Michael Otitoju, a delegate from Nigeria, said Africa has demonstrated it can solve the crisis by relying on its resources and a young population.
"Discussions around energy transition to renewable energy sources I think all of that is giving us hope that Africans can solve our problems with our own resources, with our own human capacity, so I think there is hope for Africans," he said.
Andrew Monari, a community worker in Kenya, said he learned how vulnerable communities can access the climate change fund to support their mitigation programs.
"I have attended the site meetings in terms of climate change finance. For example, we have concluded one in a hotel today where vulnerable people and minority people affected by climate change have been discussed regarding financing. So, we have a global person who is in charge of the funds and has been telling us how to access the funds," he said.
According to the United Nations, African countries spend 5%-15% of its GDP to combat climate change despite being the lowest contributor to global warming.
Developed countries have promised to give at least $100 billion annually to fight the impacts of climate change, a fund many say has been hard to come by. At the summit, U.N. chief Antonio Guterres said an additional $20 billion is needed to help mitigate Africa’s unpredictable weather patterns.
President Ruto said Africa needs access to global finances to support communities and pay its debts.
“We demand a fair playing ground for our countries to access the investment needed to unlock the potential and translate it into opportunities. We further demand to adjust multilateral development finance architecture to liberate our economies from odious debt and onerous barriers to necessary financial resources," he said.
African leaders emphasize that for the continent to undergo economic transformation, it needs to increase renewable generation capacity. They also say Africa needs access to technology and trade mechanisms that enable products from the continent to compete on fair and equitable terms.