On September 5, 2023, at the Africa Climate Summit held in Nairobi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) declared its commitment to invest $4.5 billion in clean energy projects across Africa.
Sultan Al Jaber, the head of UAE’s national oil company ADNOC and government-owned renewable energy company Masdar, presented this substantial investment to catalyze bankable clean energy initiatives in the African continent. Jaber, who also serves as the president of the COP28 climate summit, announced that a consortium, including Masdar, would collaborate to develop 15 gigawatts of clean power by 2030.
Jaber emphasized the necessity of reforming the global financial system, which he believes is ill-suited for the current era. He urged institutions to reduce the debt burden on certain countries to facilitate these initiatives.
The Nairobi summit, spanning three days, convened leaders from various African nations, government officials, and industry representatives. Distinguished attendees included leaders from Mozambique and Tanzania, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, European Union Chief Ursula von der Leyen, and US climate envoy John Kerry.
Secretary-General Guterres called upon the international community to assist Africa in becoming a “renewable energy superpower.” He emphasized the potential for renewable energy to catalyze positive change across the continent and called upon leaders of the Group of 20 major economies, set to meet in India, to shoulder their responsibilities in combating climate change.
Nazanine Moshiri, a senior analyst on climate, environment, and conflict from the Crisis Group, highlighted the hope that the summit would not overlook the challenges posed by climate-related disasters, particularly the need for conflict resolution in regions such as the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, which have been profoundly affected by climate change.
A coalition of civil society organizations had been urging Kenya’s President William Ruto to redirect global climate priorities away from what they perceive as a Western-dominated agenda centered on carbon markets and financial mechanisms to address climate challenges.
The central focus of the summit was to underscore Africa’s potential as a significant contributor to the green energy sector and attract investments aimed at combatting global warming. President Ruto used the Africa Climate Summit to reshape the narrative surrounding the region, presenting the transition to clean energy as a unique opportunity for Africa. He expressed confidence in the potential to secure financing for realizing this transition, highlighting the increasing urgency of the climate crisis and the necessity for trillions of dollars in “green investment opportunities.”
Ruto’s vision extends to bringing African leaders together to establish a shared vision for sustainable green development across the diverse continent, which is home to 1.4 billion people.