Inaugural Africa Climate Summit ends in anti-climax

By Imali Ngusale


The Africa Climate Summit has ended in Nairobi with an outcome that is satisfactory to none but to the political class. However, an overwhelming majority of the non-state actors left disappointed and disillusion by the Summit’s final Nairobi Declaration.

“The Declaration is a disappointment and portends a doleful outcome for COP28,” said, Nnimmo Bassey, Founder of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF).

“We are particularly shocked that despite the declaration acknowledging that 60 per cent of the population in Africa are small-scale farmers, but said nothing about supporting them and enhancing the practice of agroecology, which is a real climate solution,’ added Bassey during the People’s Climate Assembly’s Reaction press briefing.

Speaking with the same tone, Muhammed Lamin Saidykh the Head of Building Power, CAN- International said, “It is crucial for Africa to prioritize building renewable energy systems, electrification, infrastructure and technologies.”

Lamin underscored that, “There’s a concern that some climate solutions are driven by Western interests that cannot benefit Africa.”

He also said, “We need to reshape our agenda and involve African experts who understand our unique challenges.”

Notably, the African mass was overlooked even in the preparation of the African Climate Summit.  It is for this reason why the Africa People’s Climate Assembly brought together, farmers, fisher folks, hunters and gathers, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, grassroots movements, indigenous communities, artists, youth activists, faith leaders, academics, think tanks, and other stakeholders from across Africa to protest the summit’s disregard of their interests and voices.

Unfortunately, the people’s climate assembly did not get the visibility it deserved hence opting for an alternative space for airing their grievances.

Thuli Makama, Africa’s Senior Advisor from Oil Change International, said, “The African Union needs to be bold and discuss decolonising Africa’s energy sector instead.”

Makama also said that, “We need strong and clear calls for reparations and system change in this critical moment instead of lukewarm self-contradicting statements.”

She also stated, “It is time that world leaders and financial institutions put in the work and money to ensure that Africa has a just transition to renewable energy instead of being locked into more fossil fuels.”

In a rejoinder, Maimoni Mariere Ubrei-Joe, from the Climate Justice and Energy Program, Friends of the Earth Africa, said, “This Nairobi Declaration is short of these ideas and it could just be another beautiful document heading for the shelves.”

Uberei also underscored that, “Any solution that allows business as usual from the fossil fuel industry and that emphasizes clean-up instead of closing sources of dirty energy is bound to fail and cause even more havoc on the environment and communities.”

Uberei insisted that the African Union needs to be bold and discuss decolonising Africa’s energy sector instead.”

This notwithstanding, President Ruto expressed his satisfaction. In his closing remarks he said, “A new Africa is here and it means business.”

The President also emphasized that, “The Nairobi Declaration our common stand and firm resolutions sets the stage for new resolution for Africa.”

He also insisted that the summit as success. As a matter of fact, he dabbed it a “job well done.”

Meanwhile many CSO representatives continued to wallow stating that the Africa Climate Summit did not fulfil its mandate. They also stated that it is a shame that over 17 Heads of State, Ministers and Members of Parliament came together to disregard of the interests and voices of the African people.

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