At the recently concluded African Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, African leaders were united in their call for the processing of Africa’s extensive mineral wealth to occur within the continent.
They emphasized that “decarbonizing the global economy is also an opportunity to contribute to equality and shared prosperity.”
Despite Africa’s rich deposit of critical minerals, processing such minerals occurs outside the shores of the continent, thereby denying Africa a fair economic dividend.
The lack of adequate financing has been the constant factor that has limited Africa’s exploration of its own resources. During the summit, financiers pledged a new commitment of $23 billion for Africa. This funding aims to enhance Africa’s capacity to adapt to increasingly extreme weather conditions, conserve natural resources, and develop renewable energy sources.
Kenya’s President, William Ruto, presented the Nairobi Declaration during the summit, which was endorsed by African Heads of State and Government. Ruto announced, “During this action-focused summit, various stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, multilateral banks, and philanthropists, have made substantial commitments totaling a remarkable $23 billion for green growth, mitigation, and adaptation efforts across Africa.”
James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Bank, speaking on behalf of the private sector, expressed a commitment to drive investment opportunities across various sectors covered in the declaration. He emphasized the private sector’s commitment to seeking opportunities for nature-based solutions in decarbonization plans, committing to net zero goals, supporting carbon markets, and ensuring a just transition.
Regarding green transition minerals, Mwangi stated that leaders are dedicated to investing in new green mineral projects and their value chains while prioritizing fair working conditions.
In the realm of food and agriculture, the commitment involves creating critical infrastructure like refrigeration facilities and warehouses to reduce post-production waste and support market and trade opportunities.
The summit also underscored the importance of global leaders uniting to support a global carbon tax on fossil fuels and advocated for reforms in the global financial system. African nations have consistently argued that they face disproportionately high borrowing expenses, hindering their capacity to allocate more resources to address climate change. The declaration called on the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases and the wealthiest countries to fulfill their promises, particularly the unmet pledge of $100 billion annually in climate finance to developing nations made 14 years ago.
This united call from African leaders represents a significant step toward harnessing Africa’s mineral wealth for sustainable development while addressing climate change challenges.