SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT: Green was the colour of the day as heads of state from Kenya, Ghana and Zambia laid out strong climate-related commitments at what’s been termed “Africa’s COP” in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Kenyan President Dr William Ruto was among those hosted by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the launch of the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership.
Ruto reaffirmed his country’s commitment to accelerating reafforestation, telling delegates: “We remain committed to being in the frontline in sustainable land use and the conservation, protection, management and restoration of forests.”
Kenya and the UK have also agreed to fast-track six green investment projects valued at US $4.1 billion (KSh 500 billion) that cover the green energy, agriculture and transport sectors. Under the five-year agreement, according to a statement, the UK will also commit “KES 2 billion to a new guarantee company that will lower investment risk and unlock KES 12 bn of climate finance for Kenyan projects over the next 3 years”.
Ruto will play a pivotal role throughout COP27; he chairs the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change and, as such, represents the continent’s common positions on several priorities. These include rich nations fulfilling their existing pledges, more funding more mitigation and adaptation, and the scaling up of renewable energy investments.
Elsewhere at the summit, during a high-level event on sustainable energy for all, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo promised his country would “responsibly implement” its Just Energy Transition.
“We will continue to increase the share of renewable energy in our electricity generation mix, as well as explore the options of hydrogen gas and other clean energy sources to meet our energy needs,” said Akufo-Addo. But, he added, the framework underlying the transition would see Ghana make the shift at its “own pace”.
The US$561.8 billion framework, structured to “minimise possible stranded assets and job losses in the oil and gas sector”, puts the West African nation on track to achieve net zero emissions by 2070.
Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema, meanwhile, took to Twitter to explain that adaptation – through a green, clean economy and climate-smart initiatives – is his country’s top environmental priority.
“We place significant importance on actions that address the effects of climate change in order to enhance the resilience of our population, ecosystems, infrastructure, productive and health systems,” Hichilema tweeted.
He continued: “COP27 taking place in Africa gives us high hopes that ‘the African COP’ will deliver significant progress and implementable climate actions on issues of priority for Africa and other developing countries.”
bird story agency