- Antonio Guterres observed that for Africa to achieve its potential, it requires confronting and addressing some deeply rooted challenges and injustices
- The UN boss renewed his call for the world to step up climate action to avoid the worst effects of climate change
- According to Guterres, global institutions need to step up, guarantee African representation, and respond to African needs
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Nairobi – United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres has hailed Kenya, terming the East African nation as home to enormous opportunities and limitless potential.
However, Guterres observed that achieving this potential requires confronting and addressing some deeply rooted challenges and injustices.
“One of the prime injustices is what brings me to Nairobi today — climate chaos. Africa accounts for just 4% of global emissions, but it suffers some of the worst effects of climate change,” Guterres said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) on Tuesday, September 5, the UN boss renewed his call for the world to step up climate action to avoid the worst effects of climate change, keep global promises to provide essential support and help Africa make a just and equitable transition to renewable energy.
“As I detailed in my remarks, Africa can be a renewable energy superpower. Now is the time to bring together African countries with developed countries, financial institutions, and technology companies to create a true African Renewable Energy Alliance,” he said.
How African countries are mistreated
He said that this requires addressing another injustice: an outdated, unfair, and dysfunctional global financial system.
“On average, African countries pay four times more for borrowing than the United States — and eight times more than the wealthiest European countries. Turbocharging a just and equitable green transition — while supporting the development of more broadly across Africa — requires a dramatic course correction,” he added.
According to Guterres, global institutions must step up, guarantee African representation, and respond to African needs and potential.
“From international financial institutions to the Security Council of the United Nations, where Africa lacks a permanent seat. That’s why across my upcoming meetings, I will continue advocating for deep reforms to make these institutions more responsive to the needs of developing countries,” he said.
Guterres further said that the time had come for the world to end the injustices that are holding Africa back.
“I will work closely with African leaders and organisations like the African Union to make progress towards the peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future that Africans need and deserve,” he added.
What the Summit means for Africa
President William Ruto said the many initiatives showcased at the Summit testify to the courage of African entrepreneurs and innovators to pursue breakthroughs, exploit opportunities, develop models, and take risks to make our tomorrow better than our today.
“We have therefore committed to concluding this Summit with a Declaration which firmly encourages everyone to keep their promises, even in hard times, as a matter of justice, to hold each other to account. To collaborate and to innovate,” said Ruto.
The event also saw the launch of the green hydrogen strategy and roadmap for Kenya
“Green Hydrogen presents us with the opportunity to reduce transport costs and produce steel for construction and infrastructure projects in Africa. It will create over 24,000 direct jobs and 15,000 indirect jobs,” said Richard Kiplagat, Chairman, Africa Hydrogen Task Force.
Africa Development Bank (ADB) President Akinwumi Adesina said there is a need for Africa to develop with what it has and not what it doesn't have.
How to access Africa's renewable energy potential
"We must fully unlock Africa's renewable energy potential. We must power every home, every school, every hospital, and provide stable, affordable, and reliable power. But we must be pragmatic. Africa must use its natural gas...give us space to grow," he explained.
Earlier, President Ruto revealed that most African countries are in debt distress due to climate change.
Ruto noted that the adverse drought across the continent has hit many countries, forcing them to divert resources for economic growth to mitigation measures.
Speaking during the second day of the Africa Climate Summit 2023, Ruto said Kenya alone lost 2 million heads of livestock due to drought.
The head of state argued that, if combined with what Ethiopia, Somalia, and Djibouti lost, the Horn of Africa lost over 9 million heads of livestock.
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