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Nairobi Declaration: Three days and still not quite done

The Africa Climate Summit has ended with an ambitious call to action but not everyone has joined the party

Hello from the basement of Nairobi’s finest convention centre. We’re striving for balance between sharing details of climate agreements… and avoiding green-speak. (Not a problem for the silver-tongued Kenyan president above.)

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Today’s reading time: 5 mins

1.🚁 Heli view: Great declaration, now some more signatories please

Photo: Twitter

The Nairobi Declaration, an apparently united African position on climate action, was published by heads of state today.

  • The text was agreed by 19 heads of state (see picture above).

  • Nigeria, South Africa and Angola, three of the four largest African economies, have so far declined to come onboard.

  • Nigeria and Angola are the two biggest Sub-Saharan oil producers, while South Africa is heavily industrialised.

The big picture: The Declaration aims to cement a transformative African position ahead of global climate talks at COP 28 in December.

  • Unlike previous climate declarations, this one includes a call for the end of all fossil fuel subsidies.

  • The agreement also includes a call for new global taxation on fossil fuel traders and heavy users, including shipping and aviation.

Broad agreement: African leaders comfortably agreed calls for carbon taxation and innovative debt instruments as tools for climate and development action, such as:

  • New debt relief including a 10-year grace period

  • Global cooperation for Africa to share $27 billion in corporate tax annually

  • Partial foreign exchange guarantees for emerging and frontier economies

  • Additional measures to de-risk private capital, such as blended finance instruments, purchase commitments, industrial policy collaboration, and guarantee mechanisms.

Nature matters: Negotiations over details continued throughout the plenary session welcoming the declaration in the early afternoon.

  • Passages focused on nature-based solutions were weakened or missing from drafts early in the day

  • Some were re-inserted by noon and others five minutes before the closing of the negotiations

  • The strongest support for them came from East African nations

Zoom in: Compared to earlier drafts the final version has more substance, especially notable are the nature-based solutions. It includes agreement to finalise and implement the “African Union Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan”. Other much debated references include:

  • “Expansion of just energy transitions”

  • “Renewable energy generation for industrial activity”

  • “Climate-aware and restorative agricultural practices”

  • “Essential protection and enhancement of nature and biodiversity”

  • “Support nature-based ocean solutions”

Lack of detail: Among the declaration’s weaknesses is a limited focus on job creation in the green economy.

  • Strategies for new skills, education and youth employment are missing

Bottom line: The declaration offers an investment-oriented view of Africa’s future that is summed up by the phrase “climate-positive growth” in the text.

  • It envisions the continent leapfrogging traditional high-carbon development models from Europe, America and Asia.


Looking for greener pastures? Shortlist Futures has launched their Africa Climate Careers Network’s Climate Job Board. Here’s a couple for you to peruse or click below for more:

2. Cookstoves pivot away from coal burners

Clean cookstove makers are shifting from cookers that use green fuels to selling outright electric stoves.

The news: Burn Manufacturing, a Kenya-based firm, has unveiled a new electric cooker that’s specifically marketed as a cleaner alternative to existing flame-based models.

Industry trend: The shift to electric stoves can be seen across the sector. Other makers are expected to launch new models as part of a wider market adjustment.

  • Makers also today launched a new industry group called the Global eCooking Coalition, acting as a catalyst for electric cooking.

Why it matters: Flame-based stoves are a major contributor to Africa’s carbon footprint.

  • About 950 million people still cook on an open fire on the continent.

  • Similar to the aviation industry, traditional cookstoves generate 3% of global emissions.

Reality check: The roll-out of electric stoves in Africa relies on two facilitating actions:

  • The continued expansion of grids and mini-grids to power stoves

  • The maturing of carbon markets to fund price subsidies

Leaning in: The clean cookstove sector is among the most visibly represented at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi.

  • Players occupy an entire block within the exhibitors’ village, including the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA), Koko Networks, Sistema.bio, Burn Manufacturing, BioLite, SunKing and the Global eCooking Coalition (GeCCo).

The mission: They are not only showcasing products but also seeking a platform to redress a hindrance to future funding: Questions around the integrity of carbon credits.

Public stance: The sector is presenting itself as dynamic and responsive to challenges.

  • Erik Wurster, BioLite’s VP for Environmental Markets and Sustainability, said, "We have had a longstanding commitment to promoting integrity in the cookstove carbon market and bolster investor confidence.”

Next steps: Rules have been revised before but the process is far from finished.

  • The industry is working with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other partners to establish standards for all manufacturers and encourage sector-wide monitoring.

  • Donee Alexander of the Clean Cooking Alliance spoke of creating “a methodology that is robust and transparent without posing significant barriers to entry to increase confidence in the sector.”

3. More funding for African agriculture

African leaders are making the bold pitch that their continent holds the key to reducing emissions on a global scale.

  • A mainstay is a greater focus on forestry and agriculture, the largest sector of the continent’s economy with 15% of GDP.

The news: Extra funding has been agreed at the climate summit for sustainable farming and related areas.

  • The Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is affiliated with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, pledged $189 million to promote inclusive agriculture as well as protect tropical forests.

  • This includes sustainable and deforestation-free supply chains of major commodities such as livestock, palm oil, soy, rubber and cocoa.

Why it matters: The Congo Basin absorbs more carbon than the tropical forest of the Amazon and the forest of Southeast Asia.

  • Mafalda Duarte, the GCF executive director of the Green Climate Fund, said tapping into the carbon potential of African forestry is critical.

What’s missing: Funders see an opportunity here:

  • Just 12% of the finance required to address climate change comes to Africa.

  • Only 16% of existing climate funding is supporting Africa’s agriculture, forestry and other land use sectors.

Reality check: Climate-resilient farming and forestry require even more funding than has been made available so far. Agriculture is a $100 million a year sector in Africa.

  • The Green Climate Fund is investing $5 billion on the continent

  • Out of this amount, $1.5 billion will go to transforming agriculture in the DRC, Gabon, Zambia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Liberia

4. Q&A: Climate leaders with answers

Ben Okri, 64, is a Nigerian-British poet, novelist and essayist. His latest book, “Tiger Work: Stories, Essays and Poems about Climate Change”, was published in June.

Q: What climate book would you most recommend to friends, other than your own? A: “Our House Is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis” by Greta Thunberg

Q: Which African country has most impressed you for its green agenda? A: Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, which over the past 30 years, has grown more than 200m new trees, many of gaos, nurtured by thousands of farmers over 5m hectares of land. Part of the Great Green Wall project to surround the Sahara desert with trees, it is the largest-scale positive transformation of the environment in Africa.

Q: What is your earliest childhood memory of climate change? A: In Nigeria, my homeland, watching vast numbers of trucks take away timber that had just been cut down. As a kid, I never made the connection between those trucks and the fact that 85% of Nigeria’s forests have disappeared.

Q: What is the most recent thing you’ve done personally in your own life in response to the climate crisis? A: I fly only when I can’t get somewhere by swimming, canoe, bicycle, bus or train. And I don’t drive.

5. Media monitoring

  • Big report: The International Energy Agency and African Development Bank Group unveiled a major report on scaling up finance for climate-friendly energy in Africa.

  • New investment: Germany is backing the construction of a fertiliser plant in Kenya using green hydrogen as well as other projects worth a total of $486 million.

  • Draining resource: How to manage the strain on Africa’s vast underground water resources in the face of climate change

  • Hydro-paradox: Climate change increase the need for hydro-power but reduces its efficiency and availability

Don’t have time to read 100+ media sources daily? We’ve done it for you ➡️ Check out our full media monitoring here

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