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Africa needs to take leadership of its destiny in climate action

William Asiko, Vice President of the Africa Region Office, The Rockefeller Foundation. Photo by Jackson Mnyamwezi

African countries are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, experiencing extreme impacts of the climate crisis including drought, flooding, extreme weather temperatures and rising sea levels.

Africa as a whole contributes to less than 3 per cent of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – the smallest share among all worlds’ regions yet it’s on the front lines of the climate crisis.

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Ahead of the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS), William Asiko, Vice President of the Africa Region Office, The Rockefeller Foundation is calling on Africa to take leadership of its destiny in the climate crisis by focusing on things that the continent has control of.

Addressing the media on Friday, Asiko said Africa has an enormous opportunity to develop carbon credit programs and become a green manufacturing leader through policy commitments and appropriate incentives.

“Climate change is affecting us like no other region in the world and yet we did not cause a lot of the effects that are bringing climate change disasters to this continent. Africa needs to take leadership of its destiny in this climate crisis. We do not control green house gas emissions, we do not control climate change effects, but we do have things we control and that’s what we have to focus on,” he said.

He added that time has come for Africa to position itself as a champion of climate action.

“We are pleased that the theme of this Africa Climate Summit is climate positive growth for Africa because we believe that we control our natural resources, we have vast amounts of potential for renewable energy, we have the opportunity to be the climate champion of the world. These are things that we control,” he added.

He at the same time noted that Africa was uniquely positioned for green revolutions.

“The continent possesses abundant solar, hydro, wind and geothermal resources with limited competitive use.”

Speaking in the same meeting, Makena Ireri, Director, Demand, Jobs and Livelihoods, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) called for more opportunities to create youth employment.

Makena Ireri the Director, Demand, Jobs and Livelihoods, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP). Photo by Jackson Mnyamwezi

“Some of the key sectors we can look at are agriculture. By making agriculture mechanized, youth are going to make a key role in this future we are imagining. Agriculture will be digitized and energized and we see this as a big place where a lot of employment could be retained in the continent and areas where production is happening in the rural areas.”

On their part, GEAPP has underlined President William Ruto and the African Union’s call for increased investment and collaboration to address pressing climate challenges in Africa and end energy poverty with green energy.

The inaugural Africa Climate Summit, championed by President William Ruto next week from September 4th to 6th, aims to address the increasing exposure to climate change and its associated costs, both globally and particularly in Africa.

The Summit in which over 30,000 delegates are expected to attend will serve as a platform to inform, frame, and influence commitments, pledges, and outcomes, ultimately leading to the development of the Nairobi Declaration.

 “The Africa Climate Summit being hosted by President William Ruto is a critical moment for us to set the agenda for Africa in climate action. This is a critical moment for Kenya and we are in a turning point as a continent.”  William Asiko, Vice President of the Africa Region Office, The Rockefeller Foundation

The ACS will be organized in parallel with this year’s Africa Climate Week to build momentum ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai.

‘The fact that we have been oversubscribed by over 20,000 people is an indication of the interest that everybody globally has in this issue (climate change). This demonstrates that Africa is a key player. And also the narrative on positive climate growth has been a narrative that President William Ruto has been talking about since the African Union summit in February, 2023.” William Asiko

The Africa Climate Summit is the first time the African Union has summoned its leaders for a conversation fully devoted to climate change.

The Rockefeller Foundation will co-host or contribute  to several events during the summit with focus on unlocking climate finance and investment in clean energy and climate-smart food security and public health solutions in Africa and the world.

On the video below, William Asiko, Vice President of the Africa Region Office, The Rockefeller Foundation tells us how Africa can become a climate saviour.

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