Africa is proposing a new climate deal
The point of the Africa Climate Summit next week is to present an agreement fit for the continent that will also benefit the Global North. This turns tired narratives of the past on its head. We explain how.
1.🚁 Heli view: From Kyoto via Paris to Nairobi
In the run-up to the Africa Climate Summit (September 4-8), insiders are negotiating the final points of what they expect to be a major new climate deal.
Pacifica Ogola, climate director at the Kenyan ministry of environment, said: "The expected outcome from the summit is to present the Nairobi Declaration, to be adopted by the African Union next year."
An internal Concept Note from the African Union (AU) lists the Nairobi Declaration as the top summit outcome.
The backdrop: If the declaration is formally adopted, which seems likely, it will place Africa's goals for climate action along previous deals that represent global turning points:
The Paris Agreement of 2015 is a role model
Building on the Kyoto Protocol from 1997
Which was preceded by the Montreal Protocol of 1987
Why it matters: These international agreements laid the ground for today's climate action. They created shifts in global diplomacy, though not always with full success.
Progress was haphazard. Many goals were low, missed or never funded.
Still, the agreements galvanised momentum and set new policy directions.
Africa’s ambition: The leaders at the inaugural African Climate Summit want a radical rewrite of the global climate agenda. They see Africa at its centre.
President William Ruto of Kenya says in a summit video: “African nations are the new torchbearers of the most impactful climate action.”
New positioning: The pitch from African leaders to the global community is simple: Africa did not cause the climate crisis but it presents the best chance of solving it:
Africa has plenty of the resources needed to affect change.
Investing in Africa’s economies is key to climate action.
Being constructive: Festus Ngeno, private secretary at Kenya’s environment ministry, put it this way: “We’re making an urgent collective call for action. We want to move away from the blame game.”
The Nairobi Declaration presents Africa as a bold pioneer rather than a pitiful beggar.
President Ruto talks about a “new green industrial age” for Africa.
Bottom line: This is old wine in new bottles. Talk of the need for Africa to industrialise is hardly new.
And that's fine. Old wine is often the best -- old truths keep circulating due to their essential wisdom.
If “green industrialisation” ends up being the lever that drives climate action, all the better for it.
Investment is key: Mrs Ogola speaks of “a pathway to a new global financing deal that doesn't separate economic development and climate action”.
The first details: The AU concept note lists as additional “expected summit outputs”:
Pathway to a new global financial deal that includes 6-8 "at scale" financing instruments to be delivered by DFIs, MDBs and private financiers.
Specific investment commitments (multi-billion dollars worth) across all sectors (energy, industry, nature, etc).
Showtime: The full details of the Nairobi Declaration will be shared at the summit next week.
2. The three electric musketeers
As competitive pressure builds in the African e-mobility sector, three innovative companies have formed a strategic partnership aimed at changing the supply of electric motorbikes on the continent.
The news: The three companies are joining forces to assemble electric bikes in Kenya. Currently, most are imported from Asia.
The partners: Coming together are:
The goal: By assembling locally, the firms hope to lower costs and grow sales and use. They want to achieve, “collectively” with the whole industry, a goal of 50% penetration of motorcycles by 2030.
Optimising finance: They will leverage favourable Kenyan regulations, following a trend in other manufacturing sectors. Importing parts attracts lower duties than whole bikes.
What they’re saying: “This new phase aims even more at boosting local value, job creation and skills development that will be beneficial for after-sales services” says Emile Fulcheri, co-founder and CTO at Stima.
Why it matters: Africa is emerging as an unexpected pioneer in the electric mobility realm, including in public transit and motorcycles.
The big picture: Many innovation challenges in e-mobility have been resolved, and operators now need to tackle commercial issues.
Africa Electric Vehicle Market was valued at $11.94 billion in 2021, and it is projected to reach $21.39 billion by 2027.
Innovative startups, such as Roam and BasiGo, are propelling the electric buses market with locally assembled vehicles.
A Mckinsey study estimates that by 2040 in SSA, 50% to 65% of motorcycles will be electric, and 20% to 40% of four-wheelers.
Behind the scene: In Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Namibia, and Togo, tax incentives and power tariff relief are sweetening the deal, encouraging entrepreneurs to embrace EVs.
Reality check: Overall investment in EVs across Sub-Saharan Africa remains relatively small, accounting for 2.83% of all African climate deals from 2019 to Q1 2023.
3. Q&A: Climate leaders with answers
Grace Alawa is the founder of Sustainable Actions for Nature (SAN) and a lecturer at Rivers State University in Nigeria. She is an academic, thought leader and local community activist with global ambitions.
Q: What book, artwork or media best captures Africa's climate crisis? A: The 44-minute documentary "Nowhere to Run" gives a full view of Nigerian climate concerns.
Q: Which African country is a must-visit for learning about its climate? A: Ghana's crop production really struggles, affecting livelihoods in this neighbouring country.
Q: What's your latest personal climate action? A: I organised a visit to a mangrove community in Nigeria to raise awareness about plastic pollution.
4. Q: When did you first notice the climate crisis in Africa? A: I vividly remember the soaring temperatures and delayed rains around 2015. It was a turning point for me.
5. Q: Who's your climate action role model? A: Former US Vice President Al Gore. He grasped the situation and inspired and educated others to join the movement.
4. Media monitoring
Don’t have time to read 100+ media sources daily? We’ve done it for you:
Health concerns: Moves to focus on the medical impact of climate change are gaining traction. The Malawian heath minister calls it a “human threat”.
Green finance: The development of climate-positive growth in part depends on more African capital targeting opportunities on the continent. National Commercial Bank of Africa (NCBA) “committed to mobilise” $200 million. The bank has also installed charging stations for electric vehicles at its branches.
Hydro plants: The demand for hydro power is growing rapidly across Africa but the supply may be under threat. Changing weather patterns have led to more droughts. In turn this may be damaging the economic viability of hydro power projects.
Oil & gas: More than 400 civil society organisations have called on China to cease investing in fossil fuel projects in Africa.
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