Welcome to our first edition!

Today we launch Green Rising, the newsletter for professionals in Africa’s climate sector. If you see this, you’re with us from Day One.

You’ll hear from us with concise and useful reporting on the continent’s green economy ahead of the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi. We start high-level, then get into the nitty-gritty.

We’d love to hear your views (just hit reply). And if you’re enjoying the newsletter please forward it on to your network - the more the merrier!

Today’s reading time: 4 mins


* Countdown: Africa Climate Summit starts in 11 days (Sept 4th)

* Do attend: You (anyone!) can still register for the summit

* Agenda: We hear the summit schedule is almost complete


🌳 Meet low-carbon transport: BasiGo electric buses are plying routes in Nairobi’s Dandora district. Or go Roam 

💃 Outdoor salsa: Hip crowd goes dancing at Nairobi Street Kitchen

📚 Climate-relevant reading: Youthquake by Edward Paice

1. 🚁 Heli view: The continent’s new direction

Climate is becoming a dominant issue for African governments. And they are showing a refreshingly clear vision - that’s an improvement on the past.

  • 54 African countries signed the Paris Agreement in 2015

  • They accepted a 27% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2040

  • Africa was at the table. But it hardly drove the agenda

What’s different now: Global diplomatic dynamics have shifted, and they will even more so with the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in early September.

  • At least 17 African heads of state, led by the African Union and the UN Secretary-General, will meet in Nairobi

  • They’ll set out a joint position for COP 28, the global climate summit in Dubai from November 30th

The aim: Convince the world that Africa can do heavy lifting on climate for the rest of the planet. The fastest growing continent (by population and GDP) can be a game-changer for a low carbon future.

  • But it can't work in isolation. That’s the message from African leaders.

The ask: Nothing short of a “new deal” globally to secure a common future:

  • Climate action linked directly to better economic opportunities for Africa

  • New for-profit funding mechanisms to drive climate action & investment

  • Transform how Africa raises money on global capital markets

Reality check: Will Africa’s Green Growth agenda become the new normal? By mid-September we will know a lot better. Green Rising will have the details.

2. How to grow solar by 349% in 15 months

By clean-tech standards, solar is ancient. But South Africa has just demonstrated its continued relevance.

The news: Rooftop capacity in the southern African nation more than tripled in just over a year.

  • From 983 MW in March 2022 to 4,412MW in June 2023

Trending: This is not a one-off… long-term data shows a consistent trajectory.

  • Total renewable capacity from 1,300 MW in 2016 to 6,280 MW in 2022

  • The photovoltaic (PV) market is projected to reach 9,240 MW by 2028

  • Internet searches for solar panels surged by 140%, confirming interest

How they did it: Pride in South Africa’s solar boom is limited. Growing PV capacity is the result of failure elsewhere.

  • Years of mismanagement - and worse - have left the grid in tatters

  • Blackouts are so common some city households are dark for 16h a day

  • By contrast, the capital expense of solar has become less prohibitive

The culprit: National power firm Eskom is going through a spectacular crisis.

  • South Africans faced electricity cuts for 288 days last year

Upside: The convergence of regulatory reforms and diminishing costs in renewable energy has accelerated the expansion of the solar sector.

What’s next: At the Africa Climate Summit, vendor sign-up by solar companies has been brisk.

3. Q&A: Climate leaders with answers

Victoria Sabula is the CEO of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund and has a lifelong awareness of climate change. She grew up up in rural Western Kenya, where regular rainfall wasn’t a certainty. Here she answers our personal climate questions.

Q: What’s the best climate book you would recommend to others? A: All We Can Save: Truth Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis”, a series of brilliant essays edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, an American marine biologist, and Katharine Wilkinson, a climate-change activist.

Q: Which African country has impressed the most for its green agenda? A: I would hope I’m not biassed, but I’d have to say Kenya, for its leadership, its enabling environment and its policies.

Q: What’s your earliest personal memory of the climate crisis? A: Famine. It was 1992 and I was about 11. We lost our entire harvest. My mum would wait until late afternoon to feed us, and that thin porridge would be our only meal of the day.

Q: What’s the most recent step you’ve taken to help the climate crisis? A: My husband and I have made our home entirely solar-powered.

4. Media monitoring

Don’t have time to read 100+ media sources every day? We’ve done the reading for you:

  • Green financing: FSD's engagement on green bonds and sustainable financial instruments in west Africa resonates in Nigeria

  • Africa Climate Summit: Excitement about the Nairobi event in early September is starting to show up online, including on usual staid outlets such as Reuters

  • Climate innovation: The World Bank sets up a lab for the energy transition and includes a focus on Africa. The lab reports directly to the bank's president

  • Not the usual suspects: African climate investments have tended to cluster - is that changing? Deals are announced in Eritrea, Burundi and South Sudan

  • Colonialism and climate: The respected science publication Nature is looking at the "interaction between climate justice and postcolonial justice"

  • BRICS summit: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa support a $170m water loan. And green goods may become "a game changer for India-Africa trade".

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