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Africa can lead the world’s transition to a low-carbon future

The African continent is home to some of the world’s most abundant natural resources, including renewable energy, minerals, and biodiversity. These assets make Africa uniquely positioned to lead the world’s transition to a low-carbon future.

Africa has vast reserves of renewable energy, including wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal. These resources can be used to power Africa’s growing economy while also reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. In addition, Africa has large endowments of minerals that are essential for the production of clean energy technologies, such as cobalt, copper, lithium, and rare earths.

The continent is also one of the most nature-rich regions on Earth, hosting a quarter of global biodiversity. This biodiversity plays an important role in carbon sequestration, which is the process of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By protecting its natural capital and sustainably exploiting its natural resources, Africa can help to mitigate climate change and build a more resilient future.

The Africa Climate Summit, which will see African heads of state and more than 21,000 registered delegates gather in Nairobi this week, aims to establish a new sustainable climate compatible growth agenda for Africa. Convened by the African Union and hosted by the Kenyan government,  the aim of the summit is to elevate the continent’s ambition beyond minimalistic responses and interventions to climate impacts, and to frame a large-scale and resilient economic growth agenda for Africa, powered by the continent’s massive untapped potential to contribute to green global supply chains and green manufacturing.

The global north has dominated the climate discourse for decades, and debates about Africa’s energy future have often been shaped by geopolitical interests and detached from the context-specific climate and development realities that African nations face. The Africa Climate Summit represents an important initiative to redress this. 

The success of the summit will be measured by the quality of African solutions on offer and the commitment of  African leaders and the international community to finance and implement these. Donors and creditors must be ready to scale up finance and investments for Africa, and to create transparent, fair, equitable, and accessible market mechanisms and trade rules.

As custodians of the most promising solutions for a secure climate-resilient future, African nations are stepping forwards under President Ruto’s leadership to play a leading role in the climate debate and the realisation of a just energy transition. 

The world cannot decarbonise without Africa. It’s in all of our interests to invest in Africa’s low-carbon future, to mitigate the impacts of climate change and build a more sustainable and prosperous future for all.

About the Author

Marcus Courage is Africa Practice’s CEO

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