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African leaders call for urgent reforms of multilateral financial systems

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The Africa Climate Summit 2023 has culminated with the continent’s leaders calling for urgent reforms of multilateral financial systems in a bid to secure funding for climate mitigation and climate adaptation projects.

The African heads of state and governments on Wednesday also made it clear that they are aware of the unjust configuration of multilateral institutional frameworks that perpetually plunge the nations into debt traps.

“African nations are placed on the back-foot, through costly financing which plunges our economies into debt traps and denies them resources needed to mitigate and adapt in response to climate change, invest in energy transition and facilitate industrialization to create jobs and wealth, and to reduce inequality,” said President William Ruto.

Speaking on the same, the African Wildlife Foundation Global Leadership Vice President, Frederick Kumah, said that countries in Africa need to have their skin in the game, “We cannot always be asking for money and not put something behind it.”

Kumah emphasized that Africa holds a third of the world’s biodiversity assets and emissions accounting only for 4 per cent of the global emissions adding that the African natural asset base cleans the world and provides goods and services from the ecosystem.

“We need to take this message very powerfully forward, we shouldn’t go to the negotiation table begging for money, we should go to the table saying that we have ‘this’ to offer and if you want climate change to be addressed, you need to invest in Africa,” he said.

African Wildlife Foundation Global Leadership Vice President, Frederick Kumah
African Wildlife Foundation Global Leadership Vice President, Frederick Kumah

“Africa needs to be strong in its negotiations to take its biodiversity assets forward.”

The AWF Global Leadership VP also noted that this summit in Nairobi was one for the books, he said that this is the first time that the leaders have come out with a singular major issue which is climate finance.

“Africa coming behind this one message is a very unique proposition. The political goodwill saw 17 heads of state and also former heads of state show significant commitment.”

Kumah however said that there needs to be a mechanism to track the monies brought into the nations because there seems to be a lot of commitments but very little comes out of it.

He suggested that the African Union Commission should establish a mechanism to track these commitments and hold countries to account.

African countries will take the proposals in the Nairobi Declaration to a U.N. climate conference later this month and the COP28 summit which begins in the United Arab Emirates in late November.

Ruto hailed the summit, Africa’s first specifically on climate, as a great success. He said governments, development banks, private investors and philanthropists committed a combined $23 billion to green projects over the three days.

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