Kenyan President William Ruto advised African leaders to see climate change as an opportunity to attract significant monetary investment and reform food systems.
In his opening remarks at the three-day Africa Summit on climate in Nairobi, on Monday, President Ruto stated that green growth should be considered not only as a climatic need but also as a source of multibillion-dollar economic potential.
“For a very long time, we have looked at this as a problem. It is time we flipped it and looked at it from the other side,” Ruto said at the event in Kenya’s capital.
The summit was attended by world leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders from Africa and around the world to address pressing climate issues.
Despite Africa’s minimal carbon footprint, the impact of climate change affects the region disproportionately, he added, emphasizing the importance of mitigating loss and damage and building adequate financial instruments for resilience.
The summit’s major focus will be on market-driven finance options, such as carbon credits, with the goal of mobilizing funding that has been slow to flow from wealthier countries.
However, several African campaigners objected to this approach, claiming that it prioritized Western interests over the needs of the continent.
“You have entered the future, a future driven by global partnerships committed to African prosperity, inclusive growth, and a livable planet for all of us,” Ruto said.
Private entities announced investments on the first day of the summit, including Rawbank and Vitol’s $20 million investment in renewable energy, clean cooking, and forest conservation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the UK’s pledge of £49 million ($62 million) in support of UK-backed initiatives.
The summit’s goal was to produce the Nairobi Declaration, which would be a crucial step toward a decarbonized, sustainable, and resilient global economy powered by Africa’s untapped potential and renewable resources.