Kenyan President William Ruto opened the first climate summit in Africa, drawing hundreds of millions of dollars in climate financing pledges
Kenyan President William Ruto on Monday urged delegates at Africa’s first climate summit to see the continent as a unique destination for climate investment rather than a victim of natural crises. The event, treated as an opportunity for African leaders to attract large-scale investments, has already brought a commitment from UAE investors to buy $450 million of carbon credits.
Organisers say they anticipate hundreds of millions of dollars and more deals from the three-day summit in Nairobi, which will be visited by more than 20 presidents and heads of government.
The largest $450 million commitment was announced by UAE Carbon Alliance, a coalition of private sector players. They are committed to buying $450 million of carbon credits from the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI), launched at Egypt’s COP27 summit last year.
The carbon market in the UAE itself is developing in giant strides, with a national system for carbon credits using blockchain technology soon-to-come.
Another $200 million investment in projects that will produce ACMI credits came from Climate Asset Management. Germany also announced a 60 million euro ($65 million) debt swap with Kenya able to release some funds for green projects. In addition, UK-backed projects worth 49 million pounds ($62 million) are expected to be announced during the summit.
African leaders, including Ruto, are using the summit to promote climate financing instruments such as carbon credits and debt-for-nature swaps and accelerate funding flows from the developed economies. So far, the continent has received about 12% of the money it requires to mitigate climate impact initiative and boost carbon credit production 19-fold by 2030, according to the non-profit Climate Policy Initiative.
However, many African eco-activists have opposed such an approach to climate finance, marching in downtown Nairobi on Monday to protest. They believe wealthier countries and corporations should pay their “climate debt” through direct compensation and debt relief rather than compensating for continuous pollution with carbon credits.
Sultan Al Jaber, president of COP28, also said that a lack of commonly agreed standards for carbon markets was undermining their integrity and diminishing their value.
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