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Youth must be at centre of climate change conversation

Ruto during the Africa Youth Climate Assembly 2023.

President William Ruto has challenged the youth to assume their rightful position in the climate change conversation.

He said this age group is so powerful that its voice can no longer be left at the periphery.

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The Head of State observed that there were plans to incorporate a youth representative into the African Union (AU).

“We will ensure that the next summit of the AU has youth, not as attendees but with a statement on what they think the outfit should do,” he said.

He emphasised the need for Africa’s carbon assets to be accurately valued, calling for the establishment of a carbon market aligned with global pricing standards.

“We are not going to take peanuts. Our carbon assets must account for our assets and must be valued correctly,” he said.

He observed that Africa is neither poor nor desperate but a wealthy continent that needs to properly profile and value its fortunes.

“Africa has huge renewable resources that is not yet captured in its asset books.”

He asked the youth, who he termed as energetic and creative, to take charge and position themselves at the centre of driving the new narrative about Africa.

He was speaking on Sunday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Nairobi, during the Africa Youth Climate Assembly 2023.

He was accompanied by the President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja and Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya among others.

The President called on Africa to explore opportunities in the agricultural sector to create jobs and expand value-addition industries.

The global north, he added, should live up to the climate action commitments.

Dr Adesina said AfDB was committed to reducing the continent’s vulnerability to climate change.

“Our vision on climate change response is clear. We will keep accelerating green growth in Africa,” he added.

On her part, Ms Soipan asked the youth to pursue innovative ideas on green technologies.

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